Letters for Laura Monterrosa
Local, federal politicians probe T. Don Hutto on abused detainee
City Council members Greg Casar, Delia Garza, and Pio Renteria sent a letter to ICE on Feb. 23 requesting the agency allow public officials access to the T. Don Hutto detention center in Taylor to visit with Laura Monterrosa following the federal agency's refusal to allow Casar a visit last week. The letter also calls for Monterrosa's immediate release. She has alleged sexual abuse by a prison guard and has attempted suicide due to fear and intimidation. "To bar officials from entering a detention center because they represent the public, or because they may speak to the media about what they see, raises dire questions about freedom of speech and the transparency of these facilities," the letter reads. Doubling up on the pressure, U.S. Reps Lloyd Doggett and Joaquin Castro joined more than 40 colleagues in writing their own letter three days later, calling on ICE officials to investigate its handling of sexual assault cases in Texas immigration detention facilities; share the results with Congress; and conduct an expedited Prison Rape Elimination Act audit of Hutto. "Complaints of sexual abuse by guards and subsequent retaliation by ICE following victim grievances are disturbing and unacceptable," said Doggett.