‘She paid the price’: ICE deports immigrant woman weeks after she alleges guards sexually assaulted her

The immigrant woman was deported on Monday with little notice, her lawyer says 

Danielle Zoellner
Wednesday 16 September 2020 19:13
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The US Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) has deported an immigrant woman after she accused guards of sexually assaulting her while in the deportation centre, according to her lawyer.

Lawyer Linda Corchado told the El Paso Times that an immigrant woman from Mexico was deported on Monday, mere weeks after she was interviewed by investigators for five hours about her sexual assault claims.

"She paid the price for coming out of the shadows," Ms Corchado told the publication. She represented the woman on behalf of Las Americas Immigrant Advocacy Center in El Paso, Texas.

The woman is from Mexico and has two American-born children. She has not been identified.

Ms Corchado has accused law enforcement of looking “the other way” when her client needed their protection “the most”.

The Department of Homeland Security's Office of the Inspector General (OIG) investigated the woman’s claims by first holding a five-hour interview. The woman also took the investigators around the facility to point out the “camera blind spots”, which she said were allegedly used by guards to accost or assault detainees without detection.

This tour was done in front of guards and detainees in the facility, and Ms Corchado said it put her client at risk.

"For 21 days, OIG let a victim just sit in detention," Ms Corchado said. "It was truly damaging to her to have to continue being detained and see her abusers all around her, to begin to be bullied by other detainees and guards."

Initially, OIG said they would not allow for the woman to face deportation amid the investigation. But Ms Corchado said her client was told by ICE on Monday that she would be deported that day after receiving approval from OIG.

The immigrant woman was ordered to change into her civilian clothes by that evening in what Ms Corchado called “the fastest deportation I’ve ever seen”.

The Independent has contacted ICE about the deportation. The agency previously said it “has zero tolerance for any form of sexual abuse or assault against individuals in the agency’s custody and takes very seriously all allegations of employee misconduct.”

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