A Honduran woman denounces a US immigration agent for raping her for seven years under threat of deportation

  • The woman has alleged in her lawsuit that between 2007 and 2014, the then officer of the Immigration and Customs Service threatened her with repatriation if she refused to have sex
  • The legal complaint alleges during that period he had three abortions after becoming pregnant with the agent, who paid for one of those procedures
  • This is the latest complaint of an outstanding record of complaints against abuses that agents commit against undocumented migrants in the US.

 

A Honduran woman has sued a US immigration agent in court who she accuses of rape for seven years. The woman, who omits her name in the lawsuit, alleges that between 2007 and 2014 the then officer of the Immigration and Customs Service (ICE) Wilfredo Rodríguez threatened her with repatriation if she refused to have sex with him.

In the civil lawsuit, the Honduran, who met the agent after a visit that made her brothers also undocumented in an ICE center, points out that during that period she had three abortions after becoming pregnant with Rodriguez, who paid for one of those procedures.

His lawyer, George Kramer, has told Efe that the undocumented “remains in a very fragile psychological state.” The legal action seeks to “change the way those who cooperate with ICE are treated for those in a position of power, and who often exercise full control over the ability to remain in the United States,” Kramer explained.

For its part ICE, which has indicated that Rodriguez has not been linked to the federal agency for years, by policy does not comment on cases that are under investigation.

Another 15-year-old Honduran denounced that last July a CBP officer in Yuma (Arizona) put her hands inside her bra, lowered her underwear and touched her, under the pretext of a routine search, in fact, investigated by the Department of Homeland Security (DHS).

These complaints add up to an extensive history of abuse, many of which fail to be presented in court due to fear, as reported by groups in favor of immigrants.

The attack that ended in suicide

In 2014, three Honduran immigrants, two of them minors, reported that they were kidnapped, raped and attacked almost to death by Border Patrol Agent (CBP) Esteban Manzanares.

They said that Manzanares stopped them after passing the border near McAllen (Texas), took them to a wooded area, raped two of them and then cut them on the wrists and twisted their neck to leave them dying.

The other, 14, tied her to a tree for several hours while Manzanares finished her shift and returned for her to take her to her apartment and continue the abuse.

Meanwhile one of the women who had been dying managed to ask for help from another CBP officer.

When the federal authorities arrived at the Manzanares apartment to rescue the child, the agent committed suicide.

The naked Guatemalan sisters

In 2016, two 17 and 19-year-old Guatemalan sisters who ventured to cross the border alone to meet their mother living in California were arrested by CBP agents in the Presidio (Texas).

According to a lawsuit filed by the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU), after being detained and properly requisitioned by two officers, the young women underwent a third review by another agent who had them undressed.

“He asked me to take off my underwear, saying it was his job and that it was for safety,” one of them said. The federal government reached a monetary agreement this year with one of the young women to close the dispute.

Official abuse against minors

This month thousands of official documents that show years of abuse and neglect against unaccompanied minors by agents were disclosed by ACLU of San Diego.

Among the more than 30,000 pages of abuse-related records, the interview with a girl, possibly Central American, stands out, describing how an agent unnecessarily forced her to lower her pants and looked through her underwear.

All this when in the middle of the desert when I was with the agent alone.
Mitra Ebadolahi, lead attorney for the ACLU Foundation of San Diego & Imperial Counties (ACLUF-SDIC), said that “the documents show a persistent pattern of serious allegations of child abuse by federal immigration officials dating back to 2009.”

A recent study by the Urban Institute revealed that one in six adults in immigrant families changed their daily routines for fear of encountering authorities that will question their immigration status.

The report notes that immigrants avoided even the most common activities like driving a vehicle, applying for a driver’s license, using public transportation, and even going to the doctor.

Adults from immigrant families who avoided at least one activity were also more likely to report serious psychological distress, the analysis says.

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