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Two More Women Come Forward With Accusations About Sexual Harassment At Immigration Detention Center

Over the course of one month, three woman have entered complaints of sexual harassment concerning guards at a federal immigration detention center located in Williamson County, Texas.

The latest pair of women to come forward claim to have experienced insults and advances while detained.

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One of the women, only identified as Ana by immigrant advocacy group Grassroots Leadership, says she was made to feel uncomfortable by a female guard at the facility. According to case reports, the female guard heckled Ana with questions about her sexuality, looked at her inappropriately and made claims that she and Ana would “be together one day.” Grassroots Leadership says that they were also given an anonymous letter about the same guard from a woman who identified herself only as Esmeralda.

The three victims maintain that there are many women who have yet to speak up. 

Laura Monterrosa is a 23 year-old woman from El Salvador and the first of the three women to make allegations of abuse at the facility. According to reports, the accused guard has yet to be removed from her post, meanwhile Laura is still detained at the same facility. All three accusers claim that other women in the facility have experienced harassment but are refusing to come forward after officials intimidated them, claiming they would negatively influence the outcomes of their immigration cases.

The detention center is operated by a private prison company called CoreCivic, which is contracted by Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE). The handling of the investigation has been under scrutiny by advocates. They have highlighted the ways in which the Williamson County Sheriff’s Office has dodged conversations with the victims as well as attorneys and advocates, while also deferring the investigations to federal immigration authorities.

Sexual misconduct complaints are rare in detention centers, but not because harassment doesn’t exist.

Fear of retaliatory mistreatment generally keeps women in immigration detention centers from speaking up about their abuse. And for many of the women in these centers, these fears are not unfounded. Soon after Ana and Esmerelda made their allegations, they were labeled “liars.” Ana was transferred to a detention facility four hours away from her lawyer and support system. According to Grassroots Leadership, Ana has said that because she came forward about the female guard who harassed her, she feared her case would be negatively impacted.

“After other guard noticed the harassment, they encouraged me to file a report, but nothing happened to the guard and I was transferred in retaliation,” she said.

Knowing that there are other women who have suffered at the hands of facility guards is as disturbing as it is discouraging. Let’s hope Ana, Laura and Esmeralda’s bravery ignites others to speak up in the hopes this mistreatment will end.

Read: On Top Of Deportation, Latinas In The Era Of Trump Now Have A Domestic Abuse Problem

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A 9-Year-Old Girl Was Detained By Border Patrol On Her Way To School

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A 9-Year-Old Girl Was Detained By Border Patrol On Her Way To School

A 9-year-old U.S. citizen was separated from her mother for 36 hours after agents at the border accused her of lying about her citizenship.

Like thousands of students in our country, Julia Isabel Amparo Medina’s daily commute requires her to cross the U.S. border.

The fourth-grade student attends Nicoloff Elementary School in San Ysidro, California and was in a carpool to school from her home in Tijuana when she ran into traffic. Medina, was commuting to school in a car driven by her mother’s friend Michelle Cardena, Cardena’s two children and her own older 14-year-old brother, Oscar. When the long line to get into the U.S. seemed to be jampacked upon their 4 a.m arrival, Cardenas instructed the kids in her car to walk to the border. She assured them that when they reached it, she would call them an Uber to get them the rest of the way to their school.

But Medina and her never made it across the border or to school that day.

According to the New York Times who talked to a Customs and Border Protection spokesman, two Amparo and her brother arrived at one of the San Ysidro port of entry facilities for pedestrians at 10:15 a.m. last Monday.

Upon their arrival, Amparo and her brother presented their U.S. passports to a CBP officer who soon accused her of being someone else. Note: Amparo’s passport image which was taken years before so she did not look exactly like herself. They also accused her brother of smuggling.

A CBP spokesperson has said that Amparo “provided inconsistent information during her inspection, and CBP officers took the 9-year-old into custody to perform due diligence in confirming her identity and citizenship.”

After CBP officers the confirmed that her brother was a U.S. citizen, he was permitted to enter the U.S while his sister stayed behind. It wasn’t until 6:30 pm on Tuesday, that Amparo was confirmed to be a U.S. citizen as well and was released and admitted to the U.S. to her mother.

Speaking to NBC7, Amparo said she was “scared” of her detention and that she was “sad because I didn’t have my mom or my brother. I was completely by myself.”

According to Amparo’s mother Thelma Galaxia, her daughter claims that she was told by an officer that she and her brother would be released if she admitted to being her cousin. Galaxia claims that officers also convinced her son Oscar to sign a document that Amparo was his cousin and not his sister.

When Galaxia was alerted that her children had been detained she contacted the Mexican consulate.

After being notified by the consulate that her daughter would be released at the San Ysidro Port of Entry. While the family felt relieved to be grateful to be reunited with their daughter, Galaxia says the separation should never have happened.

Over the weekend, Twitter was swift to express their outrage over the incident.

Some even expressed their dismay of having a similar situation happen to them.

Many are using the incident as an example of the racial issues plaguing so many U.S. citizens like Amparo.

So many of the comments included outside opinions from those who have yet to experience the direct targetting of ICE.

Over all, nearly everyone was quick to point out the saddest aspect of Amparo’s experience.

Read: Preschool Students Are Doing Active Shooter Drills And I Guess This Is The New Normal Now

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America Ferrera Brings Actors Across The Border To Visit Migrant Shelters

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America Ferrera Brings Actors Across The Border To Visit Migrant Shelters

America Ferrera has never been a celebrity to stay quiet in the face of injustice, so it’s no surprise that the actress-activist has boldly responded to the Trump administration’s policy requiring migrants seeking asylum in the United States to wait in Mexico.

Last week, the Superstore star led a group of actors, including Gina Rodriguez, Eva Longoria, Kerry Washington, Wilmer Valderrama, Roselyn Sanchez and Kendrick Sampson, across the southern border to a shelter in Tijuana, Mexico.

There, the group learned how the policy was impacting migrants while speaking directly with immigration lawyers and shelter managers as well as families and children. They hope through this real-life education that they will become better equipped to challenge the Trump administration in the US.

“It is easy for me to look at these human beings and see myself. … This could very easily have been my reality in this lifetime,” the Honduran-American actress told the Associated Press about the trip.

The “Remain in Mexico” policy limits the amount of asylum requests border patrol can attend to per day. The process, which has also forced refugees, including thousands of Central American families who have filed for sanctuary from violence and poverty in their home countries, to stay in Mexico, has slowed down the process and created case backlogs in the immigration system and overcrowding in shelters in Mexican border towns.

“We were able to bear witness to how the current administration is treating refugee families. We MUST demand better,” Washington said in an Instagram post. “Let me be clear: it is legal to seek asylum. When people cross our borders, their human rights come with them. We must protect those human rights.”

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According to NBC News, the visit was organized by nonprofits Families Belong Together and Harness, an organization started by Ferrera, Valderrama and Ryans Piers.

Jessica Morales Rocketto, who heads Families Belong Together, told the news outlet that one of the women she met at the shelter had been waiting with her toddler since November to apply for asylum.

“People get to the border and think that’s the end of the journey, but it’s only the beginning,” Morales Rocketto said.

Read: 20 Major Immigration Facts the American Public Refuses to Hear

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