WASHINGTON — Texas Democrat Joaquin Castro is formally requesting the Department of Homeland Security look into the status of three undocumented women who were allegedly sexually assaulted by a border patrol officer.
In a letter to DHS secretary Jeh Johnson, Castro asks for “clarification regarding the legal/deportation status and rights of undocumented persons in this type of case.”
According to news accounts, the border patrol agent — identified by the San Antonio Express as Esteban Manzanares — took three women into his custody in Texas near the Mexico border. Two of the women, a Honduran mother and 14-year-old daughter, were allegedly raped and left for dead, while the third was taken captive at the agent’s apartment. He later returned to sexually assault her before killing himself. The women were being treated at McAllen Medical Center, according to South Texas newspaper The Monitor.
The women are believed to be Honduran who crossed into the U.S from Mexico.
Castro asks Johnson in his letter to “explain the Department’s procedures for affording victims in these types of cases the protection and treatment they need for their physical, emotional and psychological recovery. ”
While Castro represents a San Antonio area district, and not the border town where the women were found, he said in a statement to BuzzFeed he was deeply concerned about the status of undocumented immigrants who are victims of crimes.
“This case poses serious questions about how our country treats undocumented immigrants who are victims of crimes, like sexual assault, at the hands of officials with authority,” Castro said. “My heart is heavy for these women who came to this country seeking a better life and who were abused by an agent entrusted with enforcing the laws of this nation.”
Read Castro’s full letter below.