Thousands of Immigrants Allege Sexual Abuse While being Held in U.S. Detention Centers

Thousands of Immigrants Allege Sexual Abuse While being Held in U.S. Detention Centers

Many people have heard about the crimes billionaire Jeffrey Epstein allegedly committed against teenage girls. If proven to be true in a court of law, these allegations of sexual assault and trafficking of minors demonstrates how powerful people are often able to casually disobey even the most serious laws of our land. Well, U.S. officials and customs enforcement officers have this same kind of nearly absolute power over immigrants. Many of these officials, it has been reported, have been accused of sexually abusing minors in their custody

The Evolution of the Problem

From late 2014 to July of last year, the Office of Refugee Resettlement, a part of Health and Human Services, received 4,556 complaints of sexual assault committed upon the bodies of minors. Some of this conduct includes official watching minors while they bathed and showing pornographic videos to minors. Children in these centers have also stated that officials there fondled and kissed them on occasion and even raped them and forced minors to engage in sexual contact with each other.

What is Being Done

April 2017, the group Freedom for Immigrants, filed a federal complaint with the Office for Civil Rights & Civil Liberties within the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) detailing these reports. They are calling for an investigation into these charges which officials at these centers deny. Rep. Ted Deutch, D-Fla., released data from the Health and Human Services Department detailing the allegations during a hearing on the Trump administration family separation policy. The online newspaper Axios – who first reported on the problem – as well as several other media outlets have also reported on and detailed the disturbing allegations.

Of all of the appalling things that have been reported about the detentions centers that have established near the border, sexual abuse of children is the most troubling to me personally. It is part and parcel of the heartless policy of family separation and the detention of people who seek nothing more than a better way of life. Some of the detainees in custody are fleeing from governments that may wish them harm or even death. As an immigration lawyer in Oxnard, I have committed my life to protecting the innocent. As an immigration attorney in Ventura County, I vow to continue to protect the vulnerable against those who casually flaunt the mores of our society and speak for those who cannot defend themselves.

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