Friday, April 04, 2008

Ex- ICE Agent Rapes Illegal Immigrant

On Thursday a former immigration agent Wilfredo Vazquez plead guilty to raping a Jamaican woman who was in his custody. Mr. Vazquez was suppose to be transporting his victim from a detention facility in Miami-Dade County to another detention center in Broward County, Florida. The ex-officer also plead guilty for "'placing the woman in fear' during the sexual encounter." By Mr. Vazquez pleading guilty it was recommended by the prosecutors office that he serve a sentence of seven years in prison.

Vazquez's victim was a Jamaican mother of two who had been living in the United States illegally for 12 years. Vazquez was responsible for transporting this women to a transitional detention facility as she waited to be deported back to Jamaica. Once the victim filed a complaint ICE authorities granted her parole. Right now Florida Immigrant Advocacy Center (FIAC) is helping the victim obtain a visa which could lead to her obtaining legal residency.

The thing which disturbs me the most about this story is the ideal that an ICE official would take advantage of a women who had already been through a major ordeal. The victim already had to deal with deportation and being separated from her children, then for a ICE official to take advantage of her sexually is completely inhumane. Just because this women was not a legal citizen does not make it right for her to be abused while in the custody of ICE. When hearing about incidents such as this it reinforces the ideal that our immigration system is failing once again.

What can we do as citizens to change the mistreatment of detainees at the hands of ICE?

1 comment:

sara said...

I agree with Shaquanna that this incident is tremendously upsetting and inhumane. It is disturbing not only that this woman was sexually assaulted, but the question then becomes how many detainees have been assaulted and maybe have not reported the incident or perhaps have not been given the opportunity to?
This scenario illustrates that we essentially have a group of individuals who are at risk for being taken advantage of in all sorts of ways as they are not citizens and do not have [unimpeded] access to the U.S. outside of their detention centers. This puts individuals in a position of vulnerability and allows those who act as their gatekeepers to the outside world to take advantage of them. This story is truly upsetting, because it is a U.S. official who has committed the persecution of an immigrant seeking to stay in the U.S.
Further, I must say also, the system is not only broken for detainees. That detainees interact primarily with U.S. officials could put those guards and officials at risk for claims regardless of their veracity.