In severe pain, Henry wrapped a towel around his torso and stood in the dark room panicking. Medical records confirm that Henry was taken to Broward Health North. A CT scan "revealed the foreign body in the rectal area," and doctors eventually pulled out a Sharpie pen. He was transported to a rape center in Fort Lauderdale.

Later, Henry was moved to Krome Detention Center, a notorious all-male facility on the edge of the Everglades in Miami-Dade County that, unlike BTC, houses hardened criminals. For his protection, Henry has been given his own room at the facility. But it is essentially solitary confinement and is taxing in new ways.

"No one was charged" for the rape, said BSO spokeswoman Dani Moschella via email. "That case has been deemed 'pending inactive,' which essentially means it is closed unless the detective becomes aware of other information in the future."

Immigration activist Viridiana Martinez infiltrated the detention center, but was released after contacting news outlets about the conditions inside.
Monica McGivern
Immigration activist Viridiana Martinez infiltrated the detention center, but was released after contacting news outlets about the conditions inside.
The family of Samuel Resendiz-Lopez is fighting against his upcoming deportation.
Monica McGivern
The family of Samuel Resendiz-Lopez is fighting against his upcoming deportation.

Henry says BSO deputies questioned whether he plunged the Sharpie into his own rectum in a desperate attempt to get out of detention.

Henry's case isn't the first sexual assault involving BTC. In 2007, ICE agent Wilfredo Vazquez was transporting a mother of two who lived in the U.S. for 12 years to BTC. Along the way, Vazquez stopped at his home and raped the woman. He took a plea deal and was sentenced to a little more than seven years.

When Martinez infiltrated BTC that July evening, Marco Saavedra — a slight, soft-spoken, undocumented 22-year-old — was already inside. He had approached ICE officials at the West Palm Beach Border Patrol Station and said he was looking for a friend who had recently been detained. Saavedra played dumb, waved around his Mexican passport, and ended up detained.

Martinez and Saavedra collected stories of detainees and called their friends at the National Immigrant Youth Association, which then posted the stories on its website, along with a petition calling for an immediate review of each detainee's case. The group also helped families find reliable lawyers and handle the initial deluge of paperwork that comes with fighting deportation.

Martinez and Saavedra say they encountered more than a dozen DREAM Act-eligible youth who, under Obama's orders, shouldn't have been detained; more than 60 people with no criminal records or prior deportations; and several crime victims who should be eligible for U visas.

One female detainee, Norma Leticia Ramirez-Amaya, was returned to her cell on the same day she had emergency ovarian surgery and suffered horrible bleeding. Felipe Garcia, a Mexican living in Florida for 13 years, was pulled over and detained after dropping his wheelchair-bound son off at school. Luis Villanueva lived in the U.S. for ten years but was picked up while looking for work at the Home Depot and recently deported.

Having gathered up enough ammunition, Martinez and Saavedra launched a media blitz from within the detention facility. On August 1, about two weeks after getting detained, Martinez picked up a pay phone at BTC, called Amy Goodman of Democracy Now (a liberal media outlet), and did a live interview.

"Why were you willing to be arrested and deported to find out what was happening inside of this jail?" Goodman probed.

Martinez explained, "We were getting phones calls and email from family members of people who had been picked up and for months and months and months and months were being held here." Martinez said she was there to expose the cases of people "who don't have the spotlight and are not DREAMers... they're the people that are suffering in here in terrible conditions."

Interviews followed with Telemundo and Univision.

The morning after speaking with the Spanish-language networks, Martinez and Saavedra say they were summoned into an office where ICE officials surprised them by announcing that — voilà — they qualified for deferred action and would be released later that day. There was no mention of the media interviews.

Martinez says she asked, "What about all the other detainees? Why don't they have a private interview like this?" but the ICE officer replied that she wasn't at liberty to discuss other people's cases.

After a few hours and failed attempts at demanding the release of other detainees, Martinez says she was escorted into another office but heard a commotion in the hall and peered out the door to see a long line of detained men demanding to see Saavedra.

"The guards started freaking out," she recalls. "All hell had broken loose. Hundreds of freaking detainees were chanting 'Free at last, free at last' before switching to 'Marco, Marco, Marco,'" Martinez says.

The guards, radios squawking, forced the men into the courtyard and put the place on lockdown, she says. Martinez says she was hustled outside by a few guards to wait for her ride. Some detainees started a hunger strike soon after, she says.

Moore, the ICE official in charge of BTC, refused to comment on specifics and says only that Martinez didn't infiltrate the center; she violated immigration laws and was appropriately detained.

"We brought attention to this place," Martinez says. "But our mission is not yet accomplished. We want this place reviewed, and we want people who should be released to be released."

« Previous Page
Next Page »
My Voice Nation Help

I know one of these people and he isn't some innocent little construction worker. He "rents" out other Hispanics taking $3 + off each hour that each works and keeps it for hisself plus using fraudulent insurance he pays to "work under" ....nice long as noone gets hurt... And do u think paying someone to pass you through the driver license process and not check your immigration status is okay??? It is illegal. Period. When I ... A US Citizen do ANYTHING with the government agencies I have to prove who I am or I don't get what I screw the pity party...this jerk even balked at the US Gov showing Pics of his ankle bracelet on his Facebook ...take your tail home if you don't like it!!!!!!


I really don't see the activist part of this. If you're here illegally, there are certain steps you have to go through to go back to where you came from. The offender (person(s) that broke the law/illegal immigrant; whatever you want to call them. Do not get a vote, say so about how our country handles the matter. If it's uncomfortable. Good. It isn't intended to be Club Med. or a vacation. It's intent to process, from start to finish is to deter repeat offenders. There is a process to enter this country LEGALLY. Just because it's been done by millions illegally doesn't mean it's the smart thing to continue to do so. Record numbers have been deported this year, and I expect that number is only going to continue to rise. The unfortunate collateral damage in all this are the children of illegal's born on American soil. Those "anchor babies" as they've been referred to, are US citizens. Their illegal parents, are not. Their parent's used them, essentially and now it's backfired on those that have been deported and their children placed in foster care. Something that should have been thought about had American put it's foot down.  Bottom line? Don't blame the USA. Take responsiblity for your own actions if you're one of the deported. Come here legally. It's been done. I know. Don't take the path of least resistance. You may not be the only people that suffer. Activists my @$$.  Abide by laws. Don't expect them bent to your whims. No one else does. 


Such abuses and policy solutions are highlighed in my book by an immigration judge:

My Trials: Inside America’s Deportation Factories  |

American Immigration Lawyers Association wrote: “With a cast of colorful characters and compelling tales, My Trials: What I Learned in Immigration Court is both a scathing indictment of a broken immigration system that sends vulnerable immigrants back to the perilous situations from which they fled, and a heartfelt call for a return to the values upon which our nation of immigrants was founded.”  VOICE magazine September-October issue

Paperback edition:

theunbegun 3 Like

So when Cubans enter the country illegally they're labeled as "refugees" but then the Mexicans, e.t.c enter the country illegally they're labeled as "illegal aliens".


You gotta love the double standard.



 The difference is there is no persecution in Mexico for your political views or religious and basically Mexico has all freedoms the US has , Cuba doesn't.


 @theunbegun I suggest you read some history before making such an asinine statement.  How can you compare the two?  Seriously? 

robinked 2 Like

These are Not 'Activists'....these are 2 people with an Agenda...An ILLEGAL Agenda...!!!--Why is the Lame Steam Media so enamoured with a Pack of ILLEGAL Invaders & completely Silent in regards to the Majority of Taxpaying, LawAbiding Citizens that are  constantly being Raped & Stolen from by these Invaders....???!!!!!!!!---There IS a Right Way to Immigrate to this Country....Millions have taken that Path & I suggest that these so-called 'activists' can spend their time more productively trying to Educate the ILLEGAL population as to the Right Way of doing things rather than constantly Demanding More Freebies from the Taxpayer AND Demanding that Latinas should get a Pass on ILLEGAL immigration........Sheesh!!!!!!!!!!!!!

shesays 1 Like

Great piece. Too bad there aren't any thought inducing arguments or enlightening comments, just racism. Laws don't equal morality and human rights are for all, not some. I am sorry, though, for all the American citizens waiting, hoping, wishing for a job in the arrid fields or in the shady corners of home depot and are unable to get one because of those damn undocumented immigrants. Especially the ones from Mexico- right cubanogm?

cubanogm 3 Like

What I just said was what Mexico did to me and the USA gave me asylum due to my political association that put me under a death sentence by a cruel and despotic Government.This 52 years ago but I never came illegally nor would I have done it.I have no compassion for illegal aliens specially from Mexico.Arrest them all illegal aliens and deport them asap.

ivxx 2 Like

 @cubanogm typical cuban racism, even if u weren't a "political refugee" you would've eventually fled, the only thing keeping u from being an illegal immigrant is the fact that you are cuban... and it's sad, because i'm cuban myself. But for too long i've sat by and listened to these racist "exiles" who immigrated to this country and openly took all the help they were offered in order to build a life for themselves. Now that they're established, they want to shut the door they walked through to anyone else trying to come through the same way. I hear my friend's fathers and grandfathers talk about people on welfare, forgetting they too were once on welfare. They too were once at the bottom, they too abandoned everything they knew for a chance to be happy and free. What job have you ever lost to an undocumented immigrant?


 @ivxx  @cubanogm I personally have never met any Cuban's that were racists. That's absurd. 

cubanogm 2 Like

Illegal aliens are criminals by just being here illegally.They are breaking USA immigration laws.So they should be arrested and deported.That is what every country in the world does and that includes Mexico and Colombia and Venezuela,etc,etc,etc....So the USA should do the same.It is the proper and fair thing to do for people that are citizens and need a job that now is being held by an illegal alien.It is jusr as simple as that.

sieandme 3 Like

"Undocumented and Unafraid,". And that is the problem. Our laws should be so strong and punishing, that they deter the illegal entry into our Country. I understand some feel we should have "OPEN" borders and just allow all those who wish to migrate here to do so freely. I don't understand those who feel persons who have entered our Country illegally should be rewarded a "Green Card". This is not how you deter one from entereing our Nation illegally. It is how you encourage it.

wigglwagon 3 Like

"The concept of due process is held dear as a central piece of the American justice system. Anyone prosecuted under the criminal code has the right to know the charges against him, to be tried in public by a jury of his peers, and to be appointed a lawyer if he cannot afford one."


Embezzlers are not allowed to keep on embezzling until their day in court. Why are criminal immigrants allowed to keep practicing their crimes? Just letting them out on bail is like leaving embezzlers on the job with access to steal even more. Illegal immigrants should have to await their day in court in their own country.



 @wigglwagon Seriously?  If you're here illegally and being detained by or held over for ICE, you damn well know what you're being charged with/held for.  No brainer.

Miami Concert Tickets