This Saturday, Grassroots Leadership joined more than 50 other members and supporters of the Texans United for Families coalition for a vigil at the T. Don Hutto detention center, a private prison in Taylor, Texas. The vigil marked the 5th anniversary of the long but successful campaign to end the shameful practice of detaining immigrant families — including small children — at the facility.
The mood was solemn at the vigil as protesters were confronted with the renewal of mass family detention of refugee children and families from Central America. The Obama Administration has announced the opening of a family detention center in Artesia, New Mexico and has begun detaining families at a GEO Group-operated facility in Karnes County, Texas. The administration has asked for funding for up to 6,300 family detention beds across the country.
With this new round of family detention, we are launching a new campaign to end this practice once and for all. Keep your eyes on our family detention resource page, and join us in our "Families for Families" campaign by taking a picture and sending it to us tagging #familydetention in your social media posts. Our first featured family is Kate Lincoln-Goldfinch and her daughter Nora. Kate spoke at Saturday's vigil saying:
"As a new lawyer, I worked with families detained at Hutto. I was asked by a mother to sneak her child out of detention with me; I saw children lose weight from lack of food, including no access to formula for babies at night; I witnessed depression, anxiety, despair, and suicidal thoughts. I get chills when I think about the horrors of family detention being repeated. Prison is no place for children or families. Now I am a mother, and my daughter and I will fight against this terrible practice because I want to show her what it is like to stand up against inhumanity and cruelty at the hands of our own government. It is our duty, and I want her to learn it early."
Check out this video from the action: