Abused Hutto Detainee Gets Her Day in Court


Demonstrators gathered at the federal courthouse Downtown on Tuesday to support Laura Monterrosa (Photo by Jana Birchum)

An immigrant woman whose detainment at the T. Don Hutto Residential Center in Taylor has drawn calls for her release from Austin City Council members and sparked a request for a congressional investigation into detention center sexual abuse had her day in court on Tuesday. A hearing Downtown before U.S. District Judge Robert Pitman that was ongoing as this issue went to press should decide if Laura Monterrosa will be granted immediate release – or, at the least, the medical attention she needs.


Laura Monterrosa currently detained at T. Don Hutto Residential Center. (Courtesy of Grassroots Leadership)

The case challenges ICE and its regional field officer Dan Bible as well as Hutto warden Charlotte Collins. In a 10-page filing, attorneys with the Mexican American Legal Defense and Educational Fund argue Hutto unconstitutionally failed to grant Monterrosa medical care to address her severe mental health needs, worsened by alleged retaliation from the facility after she spoke out about the abuse. Monterrosa suffers from post-traumatic stress disorder and depression; she sought to commit suicide in January and "remains at a high risk for suicide," according to attorneys, who say ICE and Hutto employees are guilty of "purposely misdiagnosing her condition, denying her adequate treatment and reasonable accommodations, and placing her in segregation and isolation." See next week's issue for more details.

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