Im­mi­grant de­tainee who al­leged abuse to re­ceive ther­apy

Imperial Valley Press - - NEWS -

AUSTIN, Texas (AP) — A fed­eral judge agreed to out­side men­tal-health treat­ment for a Sal­vado­ran woman seek­ing asy­lum who said a guard groped her in­side the im­mi­gra­tion de­ten­tion fa­cil­ity where she’s been held for months, an ad­vo­cate told The As­so­ci­ated Press on Tues­day.

U.S. Dis­trict Judge Robert Pit­man agreed to an or­der Tues­day that would force U.S. Im­mi­gra­tion and Cus­toms En­force­ment to re­lease Laura Mon­ter­rosa-Flores on a weekly ba­sis to re­ceive treat­ment for post-trau­matic stress dis­or­der and de­pres­sion, ac­cord­ing to An­to­nio Mar­cano, a spokesman for the Mex­i­can Amer­i­can Le­gal De­fense and Ed­u­ca­tional Fund, which has sued on Mon­ter­rosa-Flores’ be­half.

Mon­ter­rosa-Flores is be­ing de­tained at the T. Don Hutto Res­i­den­tial Cen­ter out­side Austin. Ac­cord­ing to her law­suit, Mon­ter­rosa-Flores at­tempted sui­cide in Jan­uary.

While the AP doesn’t usu­ally iden­tify al­leged vic­tims of sex­ual as­sault, Mon­ter­rosa-Flores has agreed to come for­ward pub­licly. She told the AP in De­cem­ber that she be­lieved ICE and the fa­cil­ity guards were try­ing to in­tim­i­date her.

“Women are forced to do what they say or stay silent out of fear,” she said.

ICE said in Fe­bru­ary that it “fully re­spects the rights of all peo­ple to voice their opin­ion with­out in­ter­fer­ence.” The agency has also said it has im­ple­mented “strong pro­tec­tions” for peo­ple who are sex­u­ally as­saulted in de­ten­tion fa­cil­i­ties.

About 40,000 peo­ple are be­ing held in im­mi­gra­tion de­ten­tion, many in pri­vate fa­cil­i­ties un­der con­tracts with ICE. Many of those peo­ple have sought asy­lum in the United States, say­ing they have a cred­i­ble fear of re­turn­ing to their home coun­tries.

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