Things That Matter

A Woman Has Come Forward To Accuse An ICE Agent Of Rape And Threatening Her With Deportation

A Honduran immigrant, identified in the lawsuit only as Jane Doe, sued the U.S. Department of Homeland Security, U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement along with former ICE agent Wilfredo Rodriguez for repeatedly raping her over the course of seven years.

The woman, living in Connecticut, claims that an immigration agent threatened her with deportation if she refused to have sex with him. The ICE agent allegedly, repeatedly raped her as frequently as four times a week, and impregnated her three times. The woman is seeking $10 million in damages. 

Lawyers say the woman was essentially coerced by the ICE agent. 

“My only comment is that my client had a choice, cooperate with ICE or be deported with her family,” George Kramer, the woman’s lawyer, told KTLA.

The woman hopes to change the treatment of immigrants who choose to cooperate with ICE. 

“She remains in a very fragile psychological state. She is not only seeking compensation for the physical and emotional damage she suffered but to change the way those who are cooperating with ICE are treated by those in a position of power and who often wield total control over the ability to remain in the United States, Kramer said. 

The agent allegedly coerced her to become an informant.

An ICE spokesperson said the accused Wilfredo Rodriguez no longer works for the agency. According to the woman, she first met Rodriguez in 2006 after her brother was detained for entering the United States illegally. When Rodriguez discovered she was also undocumented, he forced the woman to become an informant and help the agency find undocumented criminals to deport, the lawsuit claims. The woman says she helped them arrest three undocumented immigrants who had stabbed her husband. 

The ICE agent repeatedly raped the woman, according to the lawsuit.

While trying to locate someone in 2007, Rodriguez asked the woman to meet him at a motel where he tried to have sex with her, according to the lawsuit; when she refused, he covered her mouth and held her at gunpoint while forcing himself on her. Jane Doe alleges she became pregnant by Rodriguez in 2007, 2009, and in 2013. Each time she had an abortion, she says, and Rodriguez paid for only one.

The lawsuit states that he made the woman perform lewd sexual acts and “abhorrent sexual behavior” where he referred to himself as the “wolf” and routinely threatened to murder her and her family.  

At one point around 2010, the suit alleges, Rodriguez’s superiors became suspicious of his treatment of immigrants. Jane Doe was called into the ICE office where agents told her not to have contact with any officers outside of the office or outside of typical business hours. Rodriguez continued to contact and harass the woman, according to the lawsuit. 

In 2014, the woman was so scared of Rodriguez that at one point he called her demanding sex. She says she was so terrified she fell off a ladder after hanging up. She seriously injured her neck, back, and ribs which required surgery. 

The woman finally came forward when her father began to fear his own deportation. While filing for his asylum, she told her story, and an agent told her to consult an attorney. 

This isn’t the first time ICE agents have been accused of sexual abuse.

An ICE detention center said it was not responsible if staff abused detainees. In 2014, a 19-year-old asylum seeker from Honduras was staying at a Pennsylvania detention center with her 3-year-old son. The woman, known as “E.D.” was sexually assaulted by a guard. 

“I didn’t know how to refuse because he told me that I was going to be deported,” she told the New York Times. “I was at a jail and he was a migration officer. It’s like they order you to do something and you have to do it.” 

According to the ACLU, the employee pled guilty to “criminal institutional sexual assault under Pennsylvania law,” however the “defendants contend that they should not be liable for any constitutional violations.” The defendants claimed that the sexual abuse was “consensual” because it occurred in an immigration detention center, not a jail or prison. 

E.D. is among thousands of immigrants who claim they were sexually abused while in ICE custody over the last 10 years. ICE has reported 1,310 claims of sexual abuse against detainees between 2013 and 2017. Watchdog groups estimate that sexual abuse actually occurs at much higher rates. 

“Rather than meaningfully addressing these endemic problems in immigration detention, the Trump administration continues to aggressively target immigrants and asylum seekers by stripping away legal protections, ramping up enforcement, and expanding immigration detention,” according to the ACLU. 

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In Bombshell Report, ICE Agents Are Accused of ‘Torturing’ African Asylum-Seekers to Get Them to Sign Their Own Deportation Documents

Things That Matter

In Bombshell Report, ICE Agents Are Accused of ‘Torturing’ African Asylum-Seekers to Get Them to Sign Their Own Deportation Documents

Photo: Bryan Cox/Getty Images

A bombshell report published in The Guardian alleges that ICE officers are using torture to force Cameroonian asylum seekers to sign their own deportation orders. The report paints an even starker picture of Immigration and Customs Enforcement–an agency that is already widely criticized as corrupt and inhumane.

The deportation documents the immigrants have been forced to sign are called the Stipulated Orders of Removal. The documents waive asylum seekers’ rights to further immigration hearings and mean they consent to being deported.

The asylum seekers allege that the torture in ICE custody consisted of choking, beating, pepper-spraying, breaking fingers, and threats on their lives.

“I refused to sign,” recounted one Cameroonian asylum-seeker to The Guardian. “[The ICE officer] pressed my neck into the floor. I said, ‘Please, I can’t breathe.’ I lost my blood circulation. Then they took me inside with my hands at my back where there were no cameras.”

He continued: “They put me on my knees where they were torturing me and they said they were going to kill me. They took my arm and twisted it. They were putting their feet on my neck…They did get my fingerprint on my deportation document and took my picture.” Other witnesses recount similar violent experiences.

Experts believe that the escalation of deportations is directly related to the upcoming election and the possibility that ICE might soon be operated under a different administration. The theory is that ICE is coercively deporting “key witnesses” in order to “silence survivors and absolve ICE of legal liability.”

“In late September, early October of this year, we began to receive calls on our hotline from Cameroonian and Congolese immigrants detained in Ice prisons across the country. And they were being subjected to threats of deportation, often accompanied by physical abuse,” said Christina Fialho, executive director of Freedom for Immigrants, to The Guardian.

Many of the Cameroonians who are in the U.S. to seek asylum have legitimate claims to danger back in their home countries. Many of these Cameroonians come from an English-speaking minority in Cameroon that are violently target by the government there–some have died. The violence has been condemned by The United Nations and Amnesty International.

As with many immigrant stories of people who are seeking asylum, these immigrants’ lives are in danger in their home country. They are coming to the United States for a better life. But instead, they are faced with the agents of Immigration and Customs Enforcement, whom they claim brutally mistreat them.

According to report, the U.S. is deporting entire airplanes full of asylum-seekers back to their home countries–deportations that have not been given due process and have been authorized under duress.

An ICE spokesperson contacted by The Guardian called the reports “sensationalist” and “unsubstantiated” while roundly refuting the claims. “Ice is firmly committed to the safety and welfare of all those in its custody. Ice provides safe, humane, and appropriate conditions of confinement for individuals detained in its custody,” she said.

Read the entire report here.

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Jada Pinkett Smith’s Mom Tells Her She Had Non-Consensual Sex with Star’s Dad

Fierce

Jada Pinkett Smith’s Mom Tells Her She Had Non-Consensual Sex with Star’s Dad

Gilbert Carrasquillo / Getty

*Trigger Warning: this piece discusses domestic violence and rape and may be upsetting for some.*

If you or someone you know has been a victim of sexual abuse, text or call the National Sexual Assault Hotline at1-800-656-4673. Or do an online chat.

Rape by a spouse or a partner is an act of physical violence that is often overlooked and under talked about. While there’s been a growth in international attention regarding marital rape it is often widely considered a “gray area” subject even in the many countries where it is illegal. Actress Jada Pinkett Smith learned a hard truth about marital rape affected her parents’ marriage this week in an exclusive clip on the Red Table Talk. Speaking with her mother, Adrienne Banfield-Norris, and her daughter Willow Smith, the actress spoke about non-consensual sex with partners.

In the latest episode of “The Red Table Talk,” Adrienne Banfield-Norris revealed that she had been raped in her marriage to Pinkett Smith’s father.

“So, Gam, you feel like nowhere in your history in regards to sexual intimacy have you felt like you had a sexual experience that was not necessarily consensual,” Pinkett Smith noted.

Banfield-Norris admitted “I have, I have, but it was also with my husband. Your dad, actually… So that’s really gray.”

Taking a moment to process, Pinkett Smith paused and that asked her mother to clarify “You’re basically saying you had non-consensual sex with my father,” she replied to her mother.

Banfield-Norris has noted how she became pregnant with Pinkett Smith in high school and married the actress’s father, Robsol Pinkett Jr soon after. After several months of marriage, the two divorced. In 2018, Pinkett Smith revealed in another episode of Red Table Talk that her mother had endured domestic violence from Robsol.

“I knew that my mother and my father had a very violent relationship early on,” Pinkett Smith explained. “She has a couple scars on her body that, as a child, I was just curious. I was like, ‘Oh, Mommy, what’s that? What’s that?’ … This will be the first time that Willow’s actually heard these stories about her grandfather who she knew.”

At the time, the three women talked about a scar on Banfield-Norris’s back which she received when Pinkett Smith’s father threw her over a banister.

“Not to make this like an excuse … but he was typically in an altered state when he was abusive like that,” Banfield-Norris said. “He was typically drunk… “I think women stay because they think that they’re in love. That’s what it was for me. I thought that it was love.”

Red Table Talk airs Tuesdays at 9 a.m. PT/12 p.m. ET on Facebook Watch.

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