Tuesday, April 23, 2024

Class-Action Lawsuit filed in Texas alleges Female Immigrant Detainees Sexually Assaulted

The American Civil Liberties Union announced last week that it filed a class-action lawsuit in Texas on behalf of three female immigrants who say they were sexually assaulted while in the custody of Immigration and Customs Enforcement.

As many as 200 incidents of sexual abuse involving female immigrant detainees in custody may have occurred since 2007, the ACLU said in a news release.  The plaintiffs in the lawsuit claim the attacks took place during their transport from the T. Don Hutto Family Residential Center  in Taylor, Texas to the airport or bus station in Austin.

“As he was doing this I was having a flashback to what happened to me in my home country,” a woman referred to only as Sarah Doe said, according to statements posted on the ACLU website. “I thought, this man is never going to take me to the airport, he is going to take me to a certain place where he will do whatever he wants to me.”

The three women’s identities were withheld by the ACLU to protect them and were referred to as Sarah Doe, Kimberly Doe and Raquel Doe in the lawsuit.  All three had entered the country without authorization.

The lawsuit names the Corrections Corporation of America, three ICE officials, and two former employees at the Hutto facility as the defendants.  One of the former employees, a guard named Donald Dunn, faced similar charges last year of assaulting five women, possibly more.

“Immigrants in detention are uniquely vulnerable to abuse, and those holding them in custody know it,” Mark Whitburn, a senior staff attorney for the ACLU of Texas, said. “Many do not speak English, many — like our plaintiffs — have fled violence in their home countries and are terrified of being returned. They may not be aware of their rights or they may be afraid to exercise them.”

An ICE spokesperson said on Friday the agency could not comment on the specifics of the case.

“While ICE does not comment specifically on pending litigation, the agency maintains a strict zero-tolerance policy for any kind of abusive or inappropriate behavior and requires all contractors working with the agency to adhere to this policy,” Nicole Navas said.


Huffington Post


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