For months, Laura Monterrosa, an asylum seeker who is currently detained at the T. Don Hutto Residential Center in Texas, says she’s been subjected to threats, harassment, and sexual abuse at the hands of officials throughout her detention at the privately-run facility. She hasn’t been silent:
In January, Monterrosa told The Outline that she had been abused by a female guard there for months, and that other guards had known about it. Monterrosa had initially published an anonymous letter detailing her abuse in November. Then, CoreCivic guards, who were tipped off by an anonymous call, interviewed her. She was also interviewed by ICE officials and the local sheriff’s office. “They treated me like I wasn’t a victim — like I was a criminal,” Monterrosa told The Outline. ICE and the sheriff’s office both closed the case.
But in December, the FBI took over Laura’s case from Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) and went to the detention center to interview her. It’s then that human rights group Grassroots Leadership says ICE and CoreCivic’s retaliation tactics escalated to extreme cruelty:
Survivor of sexual assault Laura Monterrosa was locked in solitary confinement for 60 hours in Hutto Detention Center this weekend as an act of retaliation by ICE. From approximately 11 PM on Friday night to 11 AM Monday morning, Laura was told she would not be released from solitary confinement until she publicly stated that she had not been sexually abused.
“One ICE Official named Soto specifically demanded Laura call me and tell me she was no longer going to work with us,” said Grassroots Leadership’s Bethany Carson. “The ICE official went as far as telling her that he expected her to recant her claim to the media, or else she would be locked up again in solitary confinement indefinitely.”