Maria, a woman with a pending asylum case, was released in May from the T. Don Hutto Residential Detention Center in Texas. After being granted bond, she was allowed to go live with her brother in Washington D.C. as she waited for her asylum case to be adjudicated.
She was put in a cage inside a van after being brought to a loading area. Donald Dunn was the name of the male guard who was driving. The driver pulled off the road after leaving the detention center.
Maria said, "He grabbed my breasts...he put his hands in my pants and he touched my private parts...he touched me again inside the van, and my hands were tied."
Four years ago, a nineteen-year-old asylum seeker who was staying in a detention center with her three-year-old-son was sexually assaulted by a male guard. She said, "I didn't know how to refuse because he told me that I was going to be deported...I was at a jail and he was a migration officer. It's like they order you to do something and you have to do it."
According to the American Civil Liberties Union, "nearly 200 allegations of abuse from detainees in detention facilities across the nation have been fielded by government officials since 2007 alone...one thing is clear: the sexual abuse of immigration detainees is not an isolated problem, limited to one rogue facility or merely the result of a handful of bad apple government contractors who staff the nation's immigration centers."
Three different clients of the ACLU share similar stories of being released or making bond and then being taken away in a vehicle and then being assaulted. To read these stories and learn more, click here.
To watch the New York Times video where Maria and the other victim share their stories, click here.