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In Texas to raise funds, Clinton ignores immigrant family detention crisis

May 20, 2016

The group of 15 people sang together as they waited for Clinton — first in the lobby of the hotel and then on the sidewalk outside after being removed by hotel staff. Their message was: Do more.
The Democratic presidential candidate has said she is against the policy, but advocates say campaign promises are not enough

(AUSTIN, Texas) — Immigrant rights advocates in Austin were disappointed Friday afternoon when presidential candidate Hillary Clinton refused to speak with them about family detention during a fundraiser in Austin.

They say she is wrong to ignore the issue, especially while visiting the state. Texas is home to two massive, for-profit family detention centers, which have been detaining Central American women with their children since 2014. The facilities are at the center of a legal battle over state efforts to license them as childcare facilities under lowered standards. According to a spokesperson for the department that would issue the licenses, the move was to help the Obama administration’s policy withstand a judge’s order to release the families.

“Right now we need more from politicians than just words and promises that they are going to do something if elected president” said Alejandro Caceres, immigration organizer at Grassroots Leadership in Austin. “We need Hillary Clinton to use her political power to do everything she can to help end family detention as soon as possible.”

Hillary Clinton said at a town hall last month that she would end family detention. But the women who are detained with their children can’t wait until next year. Private prisons are profiting off their pain every day right now — including several families who have already arrived at the Karnes and Dilley facilities in South Texas after being picked up in raids by Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) last week.

Advocates are asking Sec. Clinton to do more than make campaign promises and use her influence before November to push for an end to family detention and for a stop to the ICE raids on women and children.

Both Sec. Clinton and Sen. Bernie Sanders released statements last week in response to the announcement of raids.

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Grassroots Leadership is an Austin, Texas-based national organization that works to end prison profiteering and reduce reliance on criminalization and detention through direct action, organizing, research, and public education.

 

Contact: 

Cristina Parker cparker@grassrootsleadership.org, 512-499-8111