hutto detention center

Nov 15, 2017
Austin American-Statesman

Woman at Hutto immigration detention says guard sexually assaulted her

"An immigrant from El Salvador being held in an immigrant detention center in Williamson County is alleging that a guard sexually assaulted her several times over a span of months.

Laura Monterrosa made a report with the Williamson County sheriff’s office after authorities learned of possible assaults Nov. 3, according to the immigrant advocacy group Grassroots Leadership, which is assisting Monterrosa in her attempt to be granted asylum in the United States.

Monterrosa entered the U.S. in May and sought asylum to escape violence in her home country. The immigration court system denied her request and she has appealed, said Bethany Carson, immigration policy researcher and organizer at Grassroots Leadership.

Monterrosa said another inmate also tried to report an assault involving another guard, whom she also named in her complaint. That woman was quickly transferred to another facility, Carson said, leaving others with the impression that the woman would be deported because she had made the report.

'That is definitely the understood implication in the detention center,' said Carson, who spoke Wednesday with Monterrosa.

Both guards accused by Monterrosa remain employed at the detention center, Carson said."


Nov 9, 2017

Sexual Abuse Claims Emerge From Hutto Immigrant Detention Site

"Officials at Austin-based Grassroots Leadership, an immigrant advocate group, said Thursday they recently received a letter from inside the T. Don Hutto immigrant detention center in Taylor, Texas, from Laura Monterrosa, a 23-year-old immigrant being held at the facility by Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) officials given her undocumented status.

In the correspondence, the detained immigrant describes a pattern of sexual assault at the facility that she has endured since June, naming two different guards as perpetrators. The detained woman referenced an alleged assault by a female guard.

'She harassed me, telling me threatening words and forcing me to have unwanted relations with he,' writes Monterrosa in her letter. 'She looked for or took advantage of every moment she could to touch my breasts or my legs, she knew where and when she did it. I don't remember dates because there are many. She worked in the recreation area and what she did with me what she did with other residents.

Monterrosa initially broke her silence to a member of Grassroots Leadership's visitation program, officials at the nonprofit told Patch. She claimed another woman in detention was accused of lying and moved to a different location after making a sexual assault complaint as part of an alleged pattern of abuse and retaliation inside the detention center, Grassroots officials said." [node:read-more:link]

Nov 9, 2017
Spectrum News

Letter Details Sexual Assault at T. Don Hutto Residential Center

"The non-profit organization, Grassroots Leadership, received a letter detailing sexual assaults against two women at the T. Don Hutto Residential center.

According to a press release, Laura Monterrosa sent the letter, from inside the center, describing her ongoing sexual assault by a female guard. She also wrote about another woman who was abused by two other guards.

'Speaking out about sexual abuse perpetrated by a guard while still detained takes incredible courage,' said Bethany Carson, immigration researcher and organizer at Grassroots Leadership. 'As ICE has proven incapable of taking reports of abuse seriously, the least the Williamson County Sheriff’s Office can do is immediately launch a just and transparent investigation into reports of sexual abuse by guards at Hutto.'" [node:read-more:link]

Nov 9, 2017

A Migrant Says She Was Assaulted at a Detention Center. Advocates Are Calling on Law Enforcement to Investigate.

"Grassroots Leadership has created an online petition demanding an investigation into the sexual assaults at Hutto. Casini told Rewire that what she wants to see is any allegation of sexual assault taken seriously and immediately investigated by law enforcement.

'The fact that Williamson County is deliberating whether or not this should even be investigated is really concerning,' Casini said. 'These private prison companies, and [CoreCivic] in particular, have a long history of abuse across the nation. This is not unique to Hutto, but we do have concerns about other victims of abuse in Hutto who may be afraid to come forward.'" [node:read-more:link]

What the hell is going on inside the Hutto detention center?

A letter from inside a controversial detention center contains new reports of sexual assault and retaliation against women detained in an immigrant detention center near Austin. The T. Don Hutto detention center, which imprisons asylum-seeking women, has been at the center of sexual assault scandals before.  One former guard was even incarcerated for multiple assaults.

Now, a letter sent by L.M. (the woman’s initials) from inside the Hutto detention center describes her and others’ experiences of sexual assault and retaliation and names two guards as perpetrators. The facility in Taylor, Texas, is operated for Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) by the private prison company commonly known as Corrections Corporation of America, or CCA, (which prefers to be called by its new corporate identity “CoreCivic” to obscure their three-decades long history). Guards at the facility are employees of the private prison company.

The letter describes a pattern of sexual assault that L.M. has endured since June. She writes that a female guard forced her into sexual acts against her will. “She harassed me, telling me threatening words and forcing me to have unwanted relations with her, which I did not want, but I had to do what she wanted,” she described. “She looked for or took advantage of every moment she could to touch my breasts or my legs, she knew where and when she did it, I don't remember dates because there are many. She worked in the recreation area and what she did with me she did with other residents.” [node:read-more:link]

Jul 10, 2017

A Diabetic Migrant Was Taken Into ICE Custody—Then They Trashed Her Medication

Brenda Menjivar Guardado, a 21-year-old from El Salvador, has decided to self-deport from the United States because of the “extremely negligent treatment” she has received for her Type 1 diabetes while detained in Texas.

While migrating to the United States, Guardado properly managed her condition until she was detained in early June at the T. Don Hutto Residential Center in Taylor, Texas, after presenting herself at the border as an asylum seeker. Once in Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) custody at Hutto, a privately run detention center with a history of alleged mistreatment, her medication was thrown away.

She received a different medication in detention, which advocates say was not effective. Guardado’s glucose levels spiked to 452—the normal range is between 90 and 100—according to a statement from Grassroots Leadership, a Texas-based immigrant rights organization. “When she demanded appropriate medication, like she had received previously, Hutto officials told her to drink more water and stated she should go back to El Salvador if she wanted better medical care,” Grassroots Leadership reported.


American Gateways was made aware of Guardado’s health concerns when Guardado approached Whitney Drake, a staff attorney with the organization, which provides weekly legal education and workshops at three area detention centers, including Hutto. Women in these facilities are encouraged to discuss with attorneys any possible human rights abuses. Guardado shared with Drake that she was experiencing what could only be described as “life-threatening symptoms” related to her improper care, including rapid weight loss, blurred vision, and difficulty breathing. When Guardado was 13, she entered a diabetic coma, and according to advocates, she was fearful her in-custody symptoms indicated she would enter another.

American Gateways filed a request to have Guardado immediately released on grounds of medical emergency. The request was denied. She then withdrew her Credible Fear application, the first step in the asylum process, so she could be deported more quickly. Advocates said Guardado fears for her life in El Salvador, but has chosen to self-deport because it’s the only way she is certain to access the medical care she requires.

... [node:read-more:link]

Mar 10, 2016
Texas Observer

Child Careless

Licensing detention centers as child care facilities in order to circumvent rules banning the government from locking up kids and babies in cells.


It’s an idea so dystopian you’d have a hard time stomaching it in a science fiction novel, so naturally Texas is doing it. Governor Greg Abbott has even said that licensing these places as child care centers will protect “the health and safety” of the kids.

If that sounds like a hilariously bad justification built on flimsy reasoning and subterfuge, it’s because… it is. What licensing prisons as child care centers does, in reality, is give the federal government’s immigration apparatus the legal permission it needs to keep children detained.

Why else would state officials try to quietly create special prison child care licenses by sidestepping the normal administrative process, without holding any public hearings, as they did in 2015?

Thanks to the efforts of Grassroots Leadership, an Austin nonprofit working to end immigrant detention, a judge blocked the state’s underhanded attempt at incarcerating kids. When the Texas Department of Family and Protective Services was forced to put its decision up for public scrutiny, Abbott was just about the only guy who thought it sounded like a swell idea.

Dozens of legal experts, advocates and immigrants voiced their opposition to these child care licenses at meeting after meeting. And all for nothing, it seems.

If Texas doesn’t license these detention centers as child care facilities, it could be forced to shut them down entirely, something immigration advocates have long been calling on the Obama administration to do.

The alternative is, I guess, unfathomable to people who see scared kids — not coincidentally, kids of color — as threats to civil society. Who knows what these children might do if they’re allowed to wait out the asylum process in broad daylight. Play on a swing set? Build a sand castle? Set up — the horror — a lemonade stand?

One day, I hope we’ll look back at the way we treated these vulnerable families and be ashamed. We’ll be unable to fathom a society that put the concepts of “child care” and “detention centers” in the same sentence. That day can’t come soon enough. [node:read-more:link]

#Hutto27 update: Maribel is free from immigrant detention, but the fight isn't over

This photo was taken right after Maribel's bond hearing, where the judge flippantly commented, "Well, [Honduras] is a dangerous place" in response to her attorney explaining her case for asylum. In the end, he granted Maribel a $8,500 bond.

Click here to find out how to continue the fight to #FreeTheMadresLuchadoras

On Friday, fourteen people arrived to fill the small courtroom at the San Antonio immigration court and surprised staff with matching t-shirts to support Maribel Zelaya at the bond hearing she had finally been granted after more than a year in detention. [node:read-more:link]

BREAKING: At least 27 women on hunger strike at the Hutto Detention Center #Hutto27

The women were unanimous about their one and only demand: immediate release. 


UPDATE: The Hunger stike continues for a third day. ICE has retaliated against the women at the center by denying them time outside when they might see our vigil and hear our chants. 

News broke Wednesday evening that at least 27 women refused dinner at the T. Don Hutto Detention Center in Taylor, Texas as the start of a hunger strike.  [node:read-more:link]


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