Nonprofits seeking help for immigrant families

June 29, 2018
Austin American-Statesman

Bob Libal, executive director of Grassroots Leadership, has been working in this field for 15 years. “The fight is harder today,” said Libal. “The idea that the policy of the United States government would be to rip kids from parents’ arms in order to criminally prosecute their parents at the border is in some ways beyond what we’ve seen.”

Grassroots Leadership had a sort of victory this past week, engaging hundreds of activists over the course of months to pressure Williamson County to end its contract with ICE and the for-profit company that operates the T. Don Hutto Residential Center, a facility in Taylor that houses detained migrant women. Commissioners cited a desire to end the county’s involvement in a federal issue as the reason to terminate the contract.

While the vote means Williamson County will exit the contract in 2019, ICE can still contract directly with the for-profit company to run the facility. “But it’s a step in the right direction,” said Libal.

To help more women leave the detention centers, Grassroots Leadership recently established a charitable fund so donors could help contribute to paying the bonds, which can be between $1,500 and $10,000.