María Hinojosa Film Sparks Immigrant Sexual Abuse Inquiry

Democratic Congressman Jared Polis co-authored a letter this week asking the Government Accountability Office (GAO) to launch an investigation into sexual violence against immigrants in the custody of the Department of Homeland Security.

The letter was co-authored by 28 other Democratic members of Congress, and cites journalist María Hinojosa’s Frontline documentary “Lost in Detention” as the impetus for the investigation. It noted:

Therefore, we respectfully request that the GAO undertake a detailed audit of immigration detention facilities used by DHS to detain immigrants to investigate the incidence of sexual violence. This review should include facilities run by the Immigration Customs Enforcement (ICE), private facilities under contract with ICE to hold immigration detainees, and those public facilities (like county jails) also under contract with ICE. Additionally, please identify what steps DHS is taking to rectify the problem and suggest any actions it needs to consider in order to ensure that sexual abuse does not continue to plague the immigration detention system.

Hinojosa told NewsTaco, “This is what deep and long term investigative work can yield. I am proud of the entire Frontline team and sad to know this is happening to people under the charge of our government.”

“Lost In Detention” reviewed complaints of sexual abuses of immigrants at a facility in Texas, the Willacy Detention Center in Raymondville, and aided by documents from the American Civil Liberties Union, found that immigrants have made more than 170 allegations of sexual abuse in 4 years. Watch the documentary here.

[Screenshot By PBS]

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