She Reported Detention Center Rape And Abuse — ICE Deported Her

A key witness who shared details with Federal law enforcement agencies about the rape, sexual harassment, and abuse in immigrant detention centers was deported Monday. The Department of Homeland Security said that she can be interviewed by phone from Mexico if further testimony is needed — though she fears for her safety there.

whistleblower deported
The Immigration and Customs Enforcement El Paso Processing Center is seen from a distance around which protesters drove in a caravan demanding the release of ICE detainees due to safety concerns amidst the COVID-19 outbreak on April 16, 2020 in El Paso, Texas. – One detainee has already tested positive in the nearby Otero County Processing Center in New Mexico, and more cases are feared to appear in the detention centers where social distancing is often not an option. (Photo by Paul Ratje / Agence France-Presse / AFP) (Photo by PAUL RATJE/Agence France-Presse/AFP via Getty Images)

According to Propublica and the Texas Tribune, a 35-year-old woman detained for a year in an ICE detention facility was one party in a complaint filed with law enforcement agencies, reporting a long list of sexual abuses. DHS’s Office of the Inspector General began an investigation into the abuse, and requested that the detainee not be deported, as she was a material witness, then reversed their decision and allowed her deportation.

On Friday, her lawyers filed to request a supervised release to an immigrant shelter in El Paso. On Monday, she was deported into Mexico.

Last month, Buzzfeed reported on the allegations made by the deported victim and others, including offering to trade clean clothing items for sexual favors, forcible touching and kissing by an ICE officer, offers to help obtain release in return for sexual favors, being locked in solitary confinement for complaining about sexual harassment, and warnings that anyone who complained wouldn’t be believed.

Also last month, Linda Corchado, an attorney for the deported victim described a client being subjected to intimidation techniques by guards even as she shared her story with a Propublica journalist. She describes another victim who was afraid to go on the record, and was deported. She tells about targeting of those who are vulnerable in camera blind spots, and of guards’ apparent certainty of freedom from consequences.

Speaking of the decision, Corchado said, “[The U.S. government] allowed their most powerful witness to be deported. How can we possibly take this investigation seriously now or ever pretend that it ever was from the outset?”

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