Questions Arise About Sexual Assault Findings at Texas Detention Center

Feb 6, 2015

The Department of Homeland Security says it has found no evidence that women at the Karnes Immigrant Detention Center in Texas are being sexually assaulted. DHS released the results of its investigation today.

The Mexican American Legal Defense and Education Fund (MALDEF) says the DHS investigation was not thorough enough.

MALDEF is one of the groups that last September asked DHS to investigate claims of sexual assault at Karnes, an immigrant detention center for women and children in Karnes City, Tex.

David Hinojosa is lead counsel with MALDEF. He questions how the DHS investigation was conducted.

One thing that caught his attention was that DHS did not find the video evidence, which MALDEF argued does exist, proving that some women were taken out of their rooms at night to perform sexual acts on guards. The women claim they were taken to the facility's laundry room. DHS says there is no proof of that.

Hinojosa says there were also allegations that "the video surveillance cameras had been turned off in certain rooms."

Hinojosa is not calling it a botched investigation, but he believes it was not thorough.  

And he wonders why.

"Was it to protect the government policy of imprisoning women and children still?" he asks.

There have been proven allegations of sexual assault at other immigrant detention centers, most notably in the Hutto Family Detention Center in Taylor, Tex. That facility was ultimately shut down by DHS in 2009.