Dec 7, 2017

Two More Women Come Forward About Sexual Harassment in Detention Center

"In the Williamson County federal immigration detention center, a privately owned facility, two more women have accused guards of sexually harassing them. Grassroots Leadership, an organization that works with communities across the nation to abolish for-profit private prisons, jails, and detention centers, spoke to a woman, identified only as Ana, about a female guard who repeatedly asked her about her sexuality, told her they were going to be together one day, and stared at her inappropriately in the facility’s recreational area.

Grassroots also said another woman identified as Esmeralda, currently at T. Don Hutto, claimed she no longer goes to the recreational area to avoid that same guard." [node:read-more:link]

Guadalupe's Story: Detention and Deportation are Deadly Systems

Altar of remembrance in the amphitheater of Austin City Hall built for Día de Muertos

On this year's Día de Muertos (Day of the Dead), we joined with members of the Detention Watch Network remembering the victims of the U.S. detention and deportation systems. We invite you to read this story of Guadalupe, an immigrant whose story is made up of different real life experiences, most of them lived by immigrants in Austin.  As you read, we invite you to remember the people who lose their lives everyday at the hands of our cruel system. [node:read-more:link]

Nov 9, 2017
The Independent

Asylum seeker in private immigration prison writes plea for help as she accuses guard of repeated sexual assault

"'In this place, we don’t have rights, only duties,' the woman, whose identity is being withheld by The Independent for privacy concerns, wrote in a letter to Grassroots Leadership, an immigration advocacy group in Austin. 'We are not criminals, we only want to protect our lives, we can’t stand any more torture or threats.'

'She was really scared that the guard would have some sort of influence over her case, and the guard made threats toward her saying the nobody would believe her if she said anything about it,' Claudia Munoz, the immigration programs director at Grassroots Leadership in Austin, said." [node:read-more:link]

Oct 16, 2017
The Patch

Smith, Jayapal Call For Immigration Detention System Reforms

"Today, U.S. Rep. Adam Smith, D-Renton, and U.S. Rep. Pramila Jayapal, D-Seattle, convened local stakeholders in support of the Dignity for Detained Immigrants Act to dramatically reform the injustices in our current immigration detention system. At present, the detention system is driven by private, for-profit corporations that benefit from increased detention efforts, like The GEO Group which operates the Northwest Detention Center in Tacoma, Washington. This bill moves to end the use of private facilities; repeal mandatory detention; and restore due process, oversight, accountability and transparency to the immigration detention system." Grassroots Leadership is one of 52 civil society organizations that supports this bill.
Oct 13, 2017
Austin American-Statesman

ICE plans new 1,000-bed facility in South Texas ‘detention alley’

As the Trump administration cracks down on illegal immigration, the federal government is making plans for a new privately run detention center along Interstate 35 in South Texas, adding 1,000 beds to what is already the world’s largest immigrant detention system. [...]

“This would be yet another for-profit detention center in South Texas along the I-35 corridor, which has become detention alley,” said Bob Libal, executive director of the nonprofit Grassroots Leadership, which opposes private prisons.

“What Trump promised was the very high deportation numbers, and the way you get that is through the detention and deportation of asylum seekers” at the border, Libal said, “but if that number remains constant or goes down, you have to find new populations to deport.”

The result, Libal said, is likely to be more ICE raids in immigrant communities, “the stuff that is really terrifying, really dystopic.” [node:read-more:link]

Sep 21, 2017

Deported to Death: Cases That Reveal the Danger of U.S. Immigration Policy

National coverage reports the deaths of Juan Coronilla-Guerrero, an undocumented immigrant deported and killed in Mexico, and Felipe Almazan-Ruiz, a man who died in ICE's custody last week. Bethany Carson, immigration policy researcher and organizer at the Grassroots Leadership, told Rewire: “The dangerous conditions that people from different countries are facing are well understood, and it’s well-documented that specific types of people are very much in danger if they are deported back to their home countries. This is the basis of U.S. asylum law, but sadly it doesn’t cover everyone who is in danger and [Guerrero] is an example of that,” Carson said. “ICE treats people like numbers and price tags. Juan’s wife made it very clear her husband would be murdered if he were deported, but ICE didn’t listen.” [node:read-more:link]

Sep 20, 2017
The Patch

Ensnared By ICE In Austin, Deported Immigrant Winds Up Murdered In Mexico

Local advocates and Grassroots Leadership decry the recent deportation of Juan Coronilla-Guerrero, 28, from Austin during the February ICE raids that led to his death in Mexico. He was arrested by ICE within the Travis County courthouse. “Immigration raids have impacts on individuals and their families that are now often deadly,” Bethany Carson of Grassroots Leadership said. “The county policy refusing to honor most unconstitutional detainers only protects immigrants in our community if they cannot later be snatched from our courts and our streets. Stopping ICE is now a life-and-death matter. Our local elected leaders must do everything within their power to stop these deportations.” [node:read-more:link]

Sep 19, 2017
Austin American-Statesman

Immigrant taken by ICE from Austin courthouse was killed in Mexico

Immigration advocates today responded with sadness and anger to news of the deaths of two men following apprehension by Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE). Juan Coronilla-Guerrero, who was arrested in February during a controversial raid on an Austin courthouse and later deported, was violently killed in Mexico last week, according to a story in the Austin American-Statesman. The article included this quote from Bethany Carson, immigration researcher and organizer with Grassroots: “It really is an act of violence at this point to continue the immigration policies that the government is currently pushing that are sending so many people back to their deaths."


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