Detention and the #EndTheQuota Campaign

On any given day, at least 34,000 people are detained in immigrant detention centers in the U.S. to meet an arbitrary lock-up quota dictated by Congress. Stopping the quota would be a giant step forward in ending our reliance on detention. Grassroots Leadership researches and exposes the role of for-profit prisons and their lobbyists in enacting the quota contributes to the growing national movement to stop immigrant detention.

 

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Oct 28, 2015
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The Monitor

As many as 27 women go on hunger strike at immigrant detention center

As many as 27 women housed at the T. Don Hutto detention center are participating in a hunger strike, according to a news release from a pro-immigrant rights group.

The women, most of whom are fleeing violent and deadly circumstances back home, refused dinner Wednesday night and are demanding to be released immediately, according to the release from Texans United for Families.

A call placed to officials at the detention center went unanswered as of Wednesday evening.

TUFF, a volunteer-run organization, has been demanding the closure of the Hutto detention center, located in Taylor, outside of Austin, for more than nine years, when the facility was used as a family detention center, the release states.

While in detention, the women are expected to fight their legal cases with little to no representation from an attorney, the release said. In their letters announcing the hunger strike, made available by TUFF, the women write about the mistreatment in the detention centers and how they are suffering because of their legal cases, according to the news release.

“TUFF stands behind these women and we are here to echo their demand: to release them immediately. We also want to remind ICE and CCA officials that we are watching for retaliation and we will not stand by if they retaliate against the Hutto 27,” a TUFF official said in a prepared statement, referring to the U.S. Department of Immigration and Customs Enforcement, as well as the company that runs the detention facility. Read more about As many as 27 women go on hunger strike at immigrant detention center

Oct 29, 2015
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The Guardian

More than 20 women detained in Texas immigration facility begin hunger strike

More than two dozen women at an immigration detention centre in Texas began a hunger strike on Wednesday in protest at the conditions and their ongoing incarceration, a civil rights group said.

Grassroots Leadership published 17 letters from the women and said that at least 27 began their protest by refusing dinner at the T Don Hutto residential center in Taylor, near Austin.

In the letters, some of the women express fears they will be in danger if they are forced to return to Central America. Other concerns include inedible food, poor medical care, inadequate legal representation, harsh treatment from officials and a capricious process that sees some cases resolved far more quickly than others. Read more about More than 20 women detained in Texas immigration facility begin hunger strike

Oct 29, 2015
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Houston Press

Women Detained at Texas Immigration Lockup Launch Hunger Strike

Eighteen women jailed at the T Don Hutto immigrant detention center in Taylor sent letters to activists this week announcing a hunger strike inside the embattled immigration lockup, which is run by a for-profit prison company.

According to activists with Grassroots Leadership, an Austin-based nonprofit that was sent the letters this week, there could be as many as 27 women starving themselves to protest the conditions of their confinement. Most of the women are asylum seekers who fled violence in their home countries, according to Grassroots.

The women raise a number of longstanding claims against federal immigration officials, the private-prison companies they contract with to jail undocumented immigrants, and even the immigration court system in general. In their letters, the women say they've been jailed in deplorable conditions while their legal cases drag on for months. Some say they haven't received adequate medical care. (Neither federal immigration officials nor the company that runs the facility has responded to requests for comment; we'll update if and when we hear back.) Read more about Women Detained at Texas Immigration Lockup Launch Hunger Strike

Oct 30, 2015
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RT

'They treat us like dogs': 27 women detained in Texas immigration center begin hunger strike

Nearly 30 women at an immigration detention facility in Texas have begun a hunger strike. In their letters, made public by a civil rights group, they highlight “grave injustices,” detentions of up to 18 months, inedible food, and “little or no security.” Read more about 'They treat us like dogs': 27 women detained in Texas immigration center begin hunger strike

Oct 28, 2015
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The Austin Chronicle

Breaking: Hutto Detainees Begin Hunger Strike

Grassroots Leadership announced today that a group of 27 women being held at the T. Don Hutto Detention Center in Taylor, Texas, are beginning a hunger strike to protest the conditions at the facility and demand liberation.

The women, immigrants and refugees who are being held at the euphemistically named "center" – in practice, a for-profit prison – are likely to be deported. Until then, they are incarcerated in what they describe as abysmal conditions. Read more about Breaking: Hutto Detainees Begin Hunger Strike

Oct 29, 2015
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ThinkProgress

Immigrant Women Launch Indefinite Hunger Strike, Asking To Be Freed From Detention Center

Detained women seeking asylum or other forms of humanitarian relief began an indefinite hunger strike at an immigration detention center in Texas on Wednesday night, sending hand-written letters to the federal government calling for their release.

At least 27 immigrant women refused dinner on Wednesday at the T. Don Hutto detention center, which is run by the private prison company Corrections Corporation of America. The majority of the women came to the U.S. after fleeing violence and poverty in Central America, and many have already passed their “credible fear” or “reasonable fear” interviews — a preliminary step in the asylum application process. Read more about Immigrant Women Launch Indefinite Hunger Strike, Asking To Be Freed From Detention Center

Oct 23, 2015
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Newsweek

Donald Trump Demands Super PACs Supporting Him Return Money, as Hillary Clinton Disavows Private Prison PACs

Earlier on Friday, Clinton's campaign staff confirmed to Fusion that she won't accept donations from federally registered lobbyists and PACs for private prison companies. Instead, she will donate those direct contributions to charity. It was not immediately clear which charities Clinton will choose.

"Hillary Clinton has said we must end the era of mass incarceration, and as president, she will end private prisons and private immigrant detention centers," a representative from her campaign tells Newsweek. "When we're dealing with a mass incarceration crisis, we don't need private industry incentives that may contribute—or have the appearance of contributing—to over-incarceration."

Clinton’s decision reportedly follows pressure from groups, including immigration organizations and Black Lives Matter. Sixty-two percent of immigration detention beds are located in facilities operated by private prison companies, according to a report published in April by Grassroots Leadership. Read more about Donald Trump Demands Super PACs Supporting Him Return Money, as Hillary Clinton Disavows Private Prison PACs

Oct 9, 2015
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Fusion

Meet Juan, the DREAMer who interrupted Hillary Clinton’s big speech

Roughly 23,000 immigrants are held each night in private prisons that are contracted out to corporations by the Bureau of Prisons. An estimated 62% of all immigration detention beds in the U.S. are operated by for-profit prison corporations, up from 49% in 2009, according to a report released earlier this year by Grassroots Leadership, a group whose mission it is to end for-profit incarceration. Read more about Meet Juan, the DREAMer who interrupted Hillary Clinton’s big speech

Sep 16, 2015
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Hartford Courant

Interfaith Council, Nuns Urge Education, Action on Private Prisons

There have been 4,000 known deaths of migrants crossing the Mexico-U.S. border since 1995. Since 2001, there have been 2,100 deaths along the Arizona-Mexico border alone. That people still make the attempt is proof that they are desperate according to Sr. Yvette Rainville, DHS.

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OS is a policy begun in 2005 that mandates thousands of undocumented immigrants crossing the Southern border be prosecuted in the federal criminal justice system. Some feel that the policy has turned migrants into criminals, expanded the need for prisons to hold them, made a mockery of human rights, and created an unholy alliance between private prisons and the government.

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The ICE detention budget includes a mandate from congress that 34,000 immigrants be detained on a daily basis. Private prisons own nine of 10 ICE detention centers, according to a report by the Grassroots Leadership. Read more about Interfaith Council, Nuns Urge Education, Action on Private Prisons

Sep 22, 2015
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Huffington Post

We Must End For-Profit Prisons

The United States is experiencing a major human tragedy. We have more people in jail than any other country on earth, including Communist China, an authoritarian country four times our size.  The U.S. has less than five percent of the world's population, yet we incarcerate about a quarter of its prisoners -- some 2.2 million people.

There are many ways that we must go forward to address this tragedy.  One of them is to end the existence of the private for-profit prison industry which now makes millions from the incarceration of Americans.  These private prisons interfere with the administration of justice. And they're driving inmate populations skyward by corrupting the political process.

No one, in my view, should be allowed to profit from putting more people behind bars -- whether they're inmates in jail or immigrants held in detention centers. In fact, I believe that private prisons shouldn't be allowed to exist at all, which is why I've introduced legislation to eliminate them.

Here's why:

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For-profit prisons are influencing prison policy ...

... and immigration policy.

A report from the Council on Hemispheric Affairs outlines some of the ways in which private prison corporations have tried to influence immigration policy and increase incarceration rates, apparently with great success.

Grassroots Leadership found that, "contrary to private prison corporation claims that they do not lobby on issues related to immigration policy, between 2008 and 2014, CCA spent $10,560,000 in quarters where they lobbied on issues related to immigrant detention and immigration reform." Read more about We Must End For-Profit Prisons

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