Family Detention

In 2009, Grassroots Leadership ran a successful campaign to end family detention at the Hutto Detention Center in Taylor Texas. When the Obama administration announced that it would stop detaining families at Hutto, only 100 family detention beds remained at a small facility in Pennsylvania. However, after the wave of Central American families and children seeking refuge at our border in the summer of 2014, the administration reversed its decision, opening facilities at Artesia, New Mexico; Karnes, Texas, and Dilley, Texas - all run by private prison corporations. While Artesia closed at the end of last year, the number of family detention beds has skyrocketed and is expected to reach over 3,000 by this May. Grassroots Leadership is once again working to end the inhumane policy of family detention.

Facts About Family Detention

Find out more about what family detention is, what the conditions are like, who opposes it, and more on our regularly-updated resource page: Facts about Family Detention

 

Related Posts

As Pennsylvania revokes the license from a family detention center, Texas officials still stalling

(AUSTIN, Texas) —  Child welfare and immigrant rights advocates gathered ahead of a meeting of the Texas Department of Family and Protective Services Council this morning to demand that state officials scrap plans to give child care licenses to controversial immigrant family detention camps in the state. Read more about As Pennsylvania revokes the license from a family detention center, Texas officials still stalling

Jan 31, 2016
/
Austin American-Statesman

Rights advocates teach immigrants how to respond to threat of raids

Austin City Council Member Greg Casar and several immigrant rights groups gathered Saturday in North Austin to teach immigrants how to respond if they are targeted in federal raids.

...

“We believe that knowledge is power and we all have constitutional rights regardless of immigration status,” said Elissa Steglich, a UT immigration law professor.

Federal raids in January, she said, were part of an effort to deport thousands of women and children who crossed the border in the summer of 2014 to escape violence in Central American countries. Under those deportation orders, about 6,000 people in Texas are targeted, and nearly 80 percent of those will not have access to an immigration lawyer, she said.

“We see that the people who fall victim to these raids are those who do not know their rights or have the funds to pay for a lawyer,” Steglich told the crowd.

To address that, the training event played out scenarios involving an immigration official at an immigrant’s door. Organizers told the crowd that unless the official had a signed judge’s order, they don’t need to open the door. They also advised participants to withhold from speaking to the official until they are able to acquire a lawyer.

However, event organizers emphasized that people should never lie to an immigration official. They said immigrants could provide their name and date of birth if asked to identify themselves. But if asked to provide a Social Security number, ID card or other documents, they could defer to their lawyers, organizers said.

“You can also ask the official if you are under arrest,” said Alejandro Caceres of Grassroots Leadership. “If they say you are not, then you can simply walk away and avoid any other contact with them.” Read more about Rights advocates teach immigrants how to respond to threat of raids

Jan 29, 2016
/
Austin American-Statesman

No easy answers as Texas weighs fate of immigrant detention centers

The speakers trekked to the podium one after another, simultaneously lambasting and pleading with a panel of child protection officials weighing the fate of thousands of immigrant mothers and children in detention centers.

Why on earth, they demanded to know, would state officials even think about licensing these places as child care facilities?

“They are prisons, plain and simple,” said Antonio Diaz, an anti-detention center advocate with the Texas Indigenous Council. “They are prisons for profit.”

And so it went for four hours at the December public hearing on whether the Texas Department of Family and Protective Services should license and regulate two Texas facilities that house undocumented mothers and children. But that debate is coming to an end. The agency is expected to announce its decision in the next few weeks.

...

“This is not about the welfare of children,” said Bob Libal with Grassroots Leadership, a nonprofit that opposes the private prison industry. “This is a desperate attempt for the state to bail out the federal government’s immigrant detention regime.” Read more about No easy answers as Texas weighs fate of immigrant detention centers

Jan 30, 2016
/
KXAN

Austin community discusses deportation raids

AUSTIN (KXAN) — Immigrants and community members in Austin met Saturday afternoon to learn about deportation raids happening across the country.

Following a string of deportation raids happening in states such as Texas, Georgia, and North Carolina, District 4 Council Member Gregorio Casar and others set up a meeting to help immigrants know what services are available, and for others to learn how they can help with the services.

“I think it’s really important for folks to hear what we’re hearing from the administration about whose being targeted by the raids, for people to know what their rights are if they encounter an immigration officer, and also for them to hear that our police department has committed that they are just going to be acting as police officers and not as immigration officers,” said Casar, “It’s so important for the immigrant community to be trusting of our police and for the police force to work with the immigrant community, and that people have separate in their minds the police force from ICE (Immigrations and Customs Enforcement).”

According to Casar his district has the largest number of immigrants within the City of Austin. He says that they are working on establishing a hotline that people can call if they see an immigration raid in action so that the community can be informed.

Among others hosting the meeting were Grassroots Leadership, the ICE Out Campaign, and the University of Texas Immigration Clinic. Read more about Austin community discusses deportation raids

Jan 22, 2016
/
Austin American-Statesman

Council member, community groups to host event on immigration raids

Austin City Council Member Greg Casar and several community groups will host a “Know  Your Rights” training in response to immigration raids being conducted nationally by the federal government to deport people in the country illegally.

At the training, which will be hosted by Casar, Grassroots Leadership, ICE Out of Austin and the UT Immigration Clinic, attendees will be trained on how to interact with immigration officials and will be educated on what rights they have under the law, a news release from Casar’s office said.

...

When: Saturday, Jan. 30, from 2-3 p.m.

Where: St. John’s Episcopal Church, 11201 Parkfield Drive, Austin, TX 78758 Read more about Council member, community groups to host event on immigration raids

Jan 15, 2016
/
The Austin Chronicle

Women and Children First: Immigration raids targeting families strike fear in Austin's Latino community

The new year has brought with it a renewed effort to seize and deport undocumented immigrants and refugees. On Jan. 4, Department of Homeland Security Sec­re­ta­ry Jeh Johnson issued a press release announcing, "This past weekend, Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) engaged in concerted, nationwide enforcement operations to take into custody and return at a greater rate adults who entered this country illegally with children. This should come as no surprise. I have said publicly for months that individuals who constitute enforcement priorities, including families and unaccompanied children, will be removed." Johnson went on to say that the targets of the operation were "adults and their children who (i) were apprehended after May 1, 2014 crossing the southern border illegally, (ii) have been issued final orders of removal by an immigration court, and (iii) have exhausted appropriate legal remedies, and have no outstanding appeal or claim for asylum or other humanitarian relief under our laws."

...

In Austin, it is unclear whether anyone has been seized as part of the ICE raids. Rumors of raids on Rundberg and Down­town have circulated, but have not been confirmed. Regardless, there are many in the immigrant community who believe they're potential targets. For now, the primary response from immigrant rights advocates has been to organize "Know Your Rights" trainings for the undocumented, which largely consist of warning people not to open the door to ICE agents, as well as planning for families who might be left behind if some members were deported. Workers Defense Project plans to hold trainings every Thursday at 7pm, and City Council Member Greg Casar, whose District 4 has the largest number of undocumented immigrants in the city, said his office has received calls from constituents who are "afraid about the fact that ICE could be knocking on someone's door and taking them away." Casar said that his office is working on gathering information about the raids, including whether ICE has requested the assistance of local law enforcement. Of course, City Council can only do so much about what is a federal policy. "We don't want to give the impression that by City Council resolution, we're going to stop the raids," Casar said. In the spirit of "directing as much of our advocacy as possible toward solving problems," Casar's office plans to partner with Grass­roots Leadership to hold a community meeting, tentatively scheduled for Jan. 30. The meeting will include information on immigrants' rights as well as on other services, including places where those who fear deportation can seek sanctuary.

...

Many observers believe the raids are an attempt by the Obama administration to demonstrate that it can be tough on immigration, even as it pushes for immigration reform. The lawsuit filed by 26 states challenging the constitutionality of Oba­ma's executive action expanding DACA and DAPA is scheduled to be heard by the Supreme Court this year. The raids are "proof that Obama doesn't care about actual immigrant community members," said Grass­roots Leadership Immigration Organ­izer Alejandro Caceres. "We're political pawns." Read more about Women and Children First: Immigration raids targeting families strike fear in Austin's Latino community

Jan 11, 2016
/
KVUE

Immigration a complex battleground in 2016 race

Yet raids ordered by the Democratic Obama administration this month have communities on edge yet again, Grassroots Leadership immigration organizer Alejandro Caceres told KVUE Monday.

"You're leaving your house today, but you might not come back. Your kids might not come back to their house today, is anxiety and a fear that is very hard to understand if you've never actually felt it," said Caceres, explaining that unclear rules and inconsistent enforcement have compounded the feeling of helplessness. Read more about Immigration a complex battleground in 2016 race

The year in review: 15 highlights of 2015 at Grassroots Leadership!

Massive march in Dilley, Texas to #EndFamillyDetention!

As we finish up 2015, we thought we’d reflect on the year at Grassroots Leadership.  We’ve had a terrific year of work and it couldn’t have been possible without the hard work and support of our staff, board, volunteers, allies, and donors.  Please consider making a donation to help our work continue in 2016.  Thank you, we couldn’t do it without you! Read more about The year in review: 15 highlights of 2015 at Grassroots Leadership!

Pages