LULAC Condemns Sexual Abuse of Female Detainees in Texas
October 6, 2014
Paloma Zuleta at 202-812-4477
Washington, D.C. – Since August of this year, allegations have surfaced that women detained at the Karnes County Residential Center, an immigrant holding facility in southern Texas, have been sexually abused by the male staff. The facility currently holds approximately 532 detainees. The allegations of sexual abuse include male staff fondling women and requesting sexual favors in return for money, or in exchange for assistance with immigration cases. The abusive conduct is so brazen as to occur in front of other detainees, including children.
The facility, run by the private company Geo Group Inc., holds detainees who have been apprehended as they crossed into the United States. Civil rights groups like LULAC have called on President Obama to rethink current policies for apprehending immigrants. Since 2013, the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) agency has detained 444,557 individuals. Many of these individuals are placed in facilities similar to the Karnes County Residential Center and risk the same types of abuse.
“These allegations of abhorrent conduct by male staff are unacceptable by anyone’s standards,” said Brent Wilkes, LULAC National Executive Director. “We must employ a better system for processing detainees and for monitoring their court appearances. Regardless of your position on the immigration crisis in this country, it is clear that women, whose only real crime is searching for a better life, deserve more than to be placed in facilities where their personal safety is at risk.”
According to the Immigration and Nationality Act, the illegal entry of non-nationals into the United States carries the charge of a misdemeanor offense. LULAC maintains that such an offense should not warrant the level of incarceration presently employed.
LULAC calls on its vast membership to call on their Member of Congress to investigate the allegations of sexual abuse. For more information on how LULAC members can send a letter to President Obama, or to their representative, or register to vote please go to www.LULAC.org/act.
The League of United Latin American Citizens (LULAC) is the nation’s largest and oldest civil rights volunteer-based organization that empowers Hispanic Americans and builds strong Latino communities. Headquartered in Washington, DC, with 1,000 councils around the United States and Puerto Rico, LULAC’s programs, services and advocacy address the most important issues for Latinos, meeting critical needs of today and the future. For more information, visit www.LULAC.org.