One day after this story was published by the Guardian, Andres Domingo’s lawyer, Kenia Garcia, received a notification from the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) rescinding the substantiated conclusion from its investigation into the Guatemalan native’s multiple sexual assault allegations at Krome detention center.
Reviewed by the Guardian, the report’s reversal means Domingo can no longer qualify for a U-visa. The U nonimmigrant status allows victims of sex crimes or any crime that leads to mental and psychological suffering or abuse to remain in the US.
“I wish someone would come and explain to me why they no longer find my allegations to be substantiated,” the 25-year-old said. “No one has explained to me why the sudden change in their decision … I feel lost in the process; I am extremely anxious, and I just want the opportunity to fairly fight for my case. I can’t even sleep without the medications they are giving me because I am depressed, anxious and scared.”
This “should not have happened”, Garcia said. “It highlights the incongruity and lack of standards being followed. The allegations on their face [are] evidence of sexual assault at its minimum. Add to that the past history of the allegations having been corroborated by witnesses and substantiated. It just does not add up – one plus one does not equal three.”
A US Immigration and Customs Enforcement (Ice) spokesman said, in response to Domingo’s reports of sexual assaults in its custody, that the agency remains committed to “ensuring that all those in its custody reside in safe, secure and humane environments under appropriate conditions of confinement”.
On the escalation process for such allegations, he added: “When a complaint is received, it is investigated thoroughly to determine veracity and ensure comprehensive standards are strictly maintained and enforced.”
Ice declined to comment directly on the rescinding of corroboration into Domingo’s three sexual assaults in their custody.
Domingo told the Guardian that his mental health has further deteriorated with the reversal.
“What happened to me at Krome was not fair,” he said. “No one should have to go through that. I feel depressed because I just think they are not taking my case seriously. I feel that they are making a mockery of me and what happened to me by reversing their decision. I feel like they are trying to reverse their initial decision now because they simply do not want to help me. They don’t want the truth to come out. They want to keep me and my story in the dark.”
Garcia said her focus now remains on getting justice for Domingo.
“I will reach out to Congress members and representatives to see if they will help,” she said, “by putting pressure to have more transparency.”