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The QueQue

The QueQue: Pearl to get railroaded, ACLU sues ICE, CCA over Hutto assaults, TCEQ’s plot to destroy the planet exposed

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Named in the lawsuit is Donald Dunn, a former Hutto guard, who pleaded guilty last fall to multiple charges he abused women detainees while transporting them from Hutto to the nearby airport and bus stations. The ACLU claims routine lapses in the policy may have led to other similar incidents of sexual abuse. According to the suit, each of the three women — from Eritrea, Brazil, and Guatemala — fled violence in their home countries to seek asylum in the U.S. They had been released from Hutto to await hearings on their asylum cases when, during transport, they were either groped or forced to undress, the suit claims. Past charges of sexual abuse sparked an ICE investigation in 2007 and led to revamped detention standards in 2008. Heavy campaigning from the ACLU and detention-watch groups prompted ICE in 2009 to convert Hutto into a 500-bed facility solely for female asylum seekers. ICE spokeswoman Gillian Christensen wouldn’t comment on the ACLU’s allegations, saying only that the agency keeps a strict “zero tolerance policy” for abusive and inappropriate behavior among its employees.

“Unfortunately, we believe these complaints are just the tip of the iceberg,” said Mark Whitburn, senior staff attorney with the ACLU of Texas. As part of a nationwide effort to expose cases of sexual abuse, Whitburn said records obtained by the ACLU show that since 2007, 185 complaints have been made to the Department of Homeland Security regarding sexual abuse of people in ICE custody, 56 of which were in Texas facilities. “Immigrants in detention are uniquely vulnerable to abuse, and those holding them in custody know it. … Many do not speak English, many — like our plaintiffs — have fled violence in their home countries, and are terrified of being returned,” Whitburn said.

America. That is all.


TCEQ’s plot to destroy the planet exposed

The Texas Commission on Environmental Quality is continuing to field widespread criticism that it censored a well-respected Rice University scientist, deleting references to human industry’s impact on the environment and sea-level rise because the science behind global warming is apparently too controversial for the state’s Perry-appointed environmental regulators. John Anderson, a professor of oceanography at Rice University and author of an article that was to be included in the TCEQ’s delayed report on Galveston Bay, spoke out earlier this month claiming the commission deleted portions of his report for political reasons. “I don’t think there is any question but that their motive is to tone this thing down as it relates to global [climate] change. It’s not about the science. It’s all politics,” he told the Houston Chronicle. Add state Senator Leticia Van de Putte, D-San Antonio, to the list of those wanting answers from the agency.

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