Above, a drawing by a child who was held at the Hutto Family Detention Center. Families were kept in prison-like conditions, which including wearing uniform jumpsuits.
It's #TBT, or Throwback Thanksgiving. And today we are thankful that there is no longer any immigrant family detention in Texas.
As recently as 2009, families (including children and infants) were held in private facitilies in prison-like conditions. To understand the horror of family detention, you need only look at the results of a settlement that the ACLU reached in 2007 to improve conditions at the prison. The list of concessions won, which includes that guards were no longer allowed to threaten children with separation from their parents, shows just how bad things once were.
Thanks to much organizing in the state, in 2009 all of the families held at Hutto were released. Then in 2012, organized communities won another victory when ICE dropped plans to open a new family detention center in Texas. This meant that the state wouldn't again become home to the shame and obscenity of keeping children in prison jumpsuits and locked up behind razor wire.
But there's still more to be done. Today, Hutto a women-only immigrant detention facility. Most of the women held there have fled violence or persecution in their home countries and are seeking asylum in the U.S.
You can get involved and effect change by signing up to visit a woman held in Hutto. Grassroots Leadership provides visitors with support that includes orientation, access to networks of volunteer visitors, and opportunities to get involved in direct action to end immigrant detention.