“I Am Raising My Voice”: Guatemalan Mother in Sanctuary in NYC Accuses Border Patrol of Sexual Abuse
– We turn now to a Democracy Now! broadcast exclusive interview with a Guatemalan woman named Aura Hernández, who has taken sanctuary in the Fourth Universalist Society of New York, the Unitarian church on Manhattan’s Upper West Side, to avoid her deportation to Guatemala. She has been living in the United States for 13 years. She’s the mother of two U.S.-born children: 10-year-old Victor Daniel and 14-month-old Camila Guadalupe. She entered sanctuary a few weeks ago to keep her family united as she continues to fight her immigration case. She says that in 2005, when she first entered the United States, she was sexually abused while detained by the Border Patrol in Texas. She says the officer who abused her then threatened to come find her if she ever went public about the abuse. She has fought for years, quietly, to obtain a U visa as a result of the alleged sexual abuse. U visas are for the victims of certain crimes who cooperate with law enforcement. She says that despite her cooperation with authorities, the Department of Homeland Security has refused to certify her U visa, meaning she has not yet been able to obtain protections to stay in the country. The Customs and Border Protection agency declined to comment. After being forced to take sanctuary to avoid her deportation, she is now breaking her silence. On Tuesday night, Democracy Now!’s Amy Goodman and Laura Gottesdiener sat down with Aura Hernández for her first-ever television interview.
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