don t. hutto detention center

Nov 17, 2017
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Austin Chronicle

More Trouble at T. Don Hutto

"When members of Grassroots Leader­ship met with undocumented detainee Laura Monterrosa on one of their recent routine visits to the T. Don Hutto Resi­den­tial Center in Taylor to monitor human rights abuses, she initially stayed silent about the alleged abuse she was facing. She told me through an interpreter on Tuesday that a pending asylum case, and memories of those in her shoes who faced retaliation for speaking out – in the form of deportation threats or transfers to another facility – kept the 23-year-old detainee from sharing her story.

But then an anonymous caller informed CoreCivic, the private prison company that operates the all-women detention facility, that Monterrosa was being sexually assaulted by a guard. She then broke her silence and confided to Grassroots in early Nov­em­ber, penning a letter that describes a pattern of abuse since June...

Grassroots Leadership is currently calling on Williamson County Sheriff Robert Chody to launch a transparent investigation into the alleged abuses. 'Anything less than a full investigation is really concerning,' said Casini. WCSO spokesperson Patricia Gutierrez declined to comment on the potential of that investigation." [node:read-more:link]

When it comes to detention, it's about the stories behind the statistics

The following are remarks made by Elaine J. Cohen, a consultant with Grassroots Leadership's Hutto Visitation Program, at ImagiNation: Immigration, an event held at the Cathedral of Hope in Dallas, Texas featuring immigration reform activist Jose Antonio Vargas and his film DOCUMENTED.   

I have been visiting women at the Hutto Detention center in Taylor, Texas for almost three years — and it has changed my world view and understanding, not only of geo-politics, but of the human experience.  I want to tell you a little about what I’ve learned visiting women in immigrant detention and how you can visit, too. 

I’ve met many women in detention over the years. Out of respect for the dignity and safety of the women that I visit, I will not say their names, though I believe mentioning their country of origin is timely and may help you understand better what has driven so many to come to the U.S.

The first woman I would like to tell you about is from Honduras, the same country that so many families and children are fleeing from right now.   I met her a few weeks ago and two different members of our visitation program have interviewed her.  The story she told each of them was the same.  She told us of the repeated rapes she endured as a young girl — and again by the coyotes who were supposed to bring her safely across the border.  Something else happened, she was picked up by the border patrol and she now sits in immigrant detention at Hutto, which is very much like a prison, hoping to be granted asylum. 

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