TAYLOR, Texas — There was a show of solidarity Wednesday morning outside of the T. Don Hutto Residential Center in Taylor. Immigrant advocates waited outside while one by one they stepped inside to speak on an inmate.
“I want to let her know that, though she doesn’t know me or these people who are out here, there is a group of good folks with good hearts that do support her,” said Alicia Guerrero of La Linea de Defensa Comunitaria.
The FBI has been investigating a detained woman's allegations of sexual misconduct at the William County detention center. She filed the complaint at end of last year, and ever since, immigration groups have been calling for her release.
The detained immigrant is an asylum seeker.
“(Before) nobody really cared that women were speaking out or not,” said Priscila Martinez of Texas Immigration Coalition. “Hopefully, this time is different, and that we have a lot more support nationally to amplify their voices.”
ICE oversees the facility and said in December that the woman's claims could not be corroborated and lacked evidence to move forward. Now, there are new allegations of retaliation.
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“She was very distraught. She told me that an officer inside the detention center told her that she had to recant her story or else she was going to be put in solitary confinement again - indefinitely,” said Claudia Munoz of Grassroots Leadership.
But ICE said that was not the case.
In a statement to Spectrum News, officials said: “On February 9, ICE received information that she was taken to the ICE T. Don Hutto Residential Center medical unit for evaluation after staff became aware of a self-reported medical situation. She was kept in medical for close observation. On Monday, she was returned to the general population. During the time she was in medical observation, she was in communication with her attorney. In addition, ICE offered to transfer her to another facility, but she declined the offer.”
Advocates stand by the detained immigrant’s description where she was kept in over the weekend and said she did not want to relocate because she wanted to stay close to her community.
"They don’t get to isolate her from her community that has formed to support her,” Munoz said.