January 29, 2023

Trump’s deportation force just tortured an undocumented woman to silence her accusations of sexual abuse

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It seems we can’t even go a few days without yet another horrifying story about the sadistic excesses and abuses of our deportation police, the Immigration and Customs Enforcement agency (ICE).


Just last night, it was reported that an ICE lawyer had been caught stealing the identities of immigrants to commit bank fraud; just a few days earlier, an immigrant called the police for help with an intruder – and instead found himself arrested and handed over to ICE.

But that doesn’t come anywhere close to the latest allegations made against the despised agents of white supremacy.

Activists allege that Laura Monterrosa, an asylum seeker from El Salvador, was sexually abused for months by one of the guards at the ICE-contracted T. Don Hutto Residential Center, an immigrant concentration camp run by private prison company CoreCivic.

In November, she wrote an anonymous letter detailing the abuses – but somebody else (another guard who witnessed the abuse, her allies believe) anonymously alerted the authorities to what was happening and she was hauled before the Williamson County sheriffs for questioning.

“They treated me like I wasn’t a victim — like was a criminal. They treated me like a liar. I didn’t feel like they were helping me; I felt like they were accusing me of something” recounts Monterrosa. The sheriffs closed her case due to a “lack of evidence.”

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But activists are now alleging that Monterossa was held in solitary confinement – a torture technique –  for sixty hours over the weekend in an attempt to force her to recant her allegations against the CoreCivic guards.

“She was told she would not be released from solitary confinement until she publicly stated that she had not been sexually abused,” said activist group Grassroots Leadership in a statement.

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“This should not be happening in America. Here you have a woman who came forward to report rampant sexual abuse inside of a federal facility. Instead of protecting her, and ensuring the abuse stops, ICE is now putting Laura in solitary confinement with the expressed intent of tearing her down so she will do as they say. This is against the law. There is an ongoing FBI investigation and ICE is trying to convince this witness to change her story.” said Claudia Muñoz, immigration programs director at Grassroots Leadership. “This is one of the most egregious abuses I have ever witnessed.”

This is not the first time ICE and CoreCivic have been accused of using torture techniques in order to put pressure on immigrant detainees.

Bangladeshi immigrant Shoaib Ahmed, 24, told the Intercept that he was thrown into solitary confinement for 10 days for daring to tell another inmate that “no work tomorrow,” in an ill-fated attempt to resist CoreCivic’s efforts to force him and his fellow detainees to work for just enough money that the exploitation doesn’t technically count as “slavery.”

Late last month, ICE detainees at a CoreCivic-run facility in California sued the private prison contractor, alleging that they had been threatened with solitary confinement if they did not work. In October, The Intercept reported that officials had placed another detainee in solitary confinement for 30 days for “encouraging others to participate in a work stoppage” at the same privately run facility where Ahmed was disciplined, the Stewart Detention Center in Lumpkin, Georgia.

Under the bloated, translucent jowls of Secretary Thomas Homan, ICE is embracing its fundamental directive as an agency of soft ethnic cleansing and an enforcer of white supremacy, exploiting vulnerable undocumented innocents for their labor power while collecting millions in dollars from the government for the privilege of maintaining concentration camps.

A small sample of their infuriating and un-American abuses:

ICE has begun openly behaving like the secret police of an ethnostate’s autocratic regime rather than a border security and customs unit. The endless tales of horrifying behavior by America’s cruellest, dumbest collection of jackbooted, badge-jerking thugs is evidence enough that the entire agency needs to be abolished as soon as possible.

Colin Taylor

Managing Editor

Colin Taylor is the managing editor of the Washington Press. He graduated from Bennington College with a Bachelor's degree in history and political science. He now focuses on advancing the cause of social justice, equality, and universal health care in America.

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