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

Apr 29, 2015
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Palm Beach Post

Hunger strike? What hunger strike? GEO asks as protests mark meeting

Outside, more than 100 activists from half a dozen organizations were protesting the Boca Raton firm. Members of the Florida Immigrant Coalition, Dream Defenders, Enlace International, SEIU-Florida and the Palm Beach Environmental Coalition were on hand, as was Texas-based Grassroots Leadership, which has worked with Karnes facility immigrants.

Protesters blasted the billion-dollar company’s fundamental business, which hinges on a daily payment rate for every prisoner or immigrant it houses. Read more about Hunger strike? What hunger strike? GEO asks as protests mark meeting

Hundreds Prepare for May 2 Protest to #EndFamilyDetention in Dilley, Texas

(AUSTIN, Texas) — Local immigrant rights advocates and attorneys joined Austin City Council Member Gregorio Casar for a press conference today to announce that at least 250 Austin residents will be heading to remote Dilley, Texas this Saturday May 2 to call for an end to the detention of refugee families there. Greg Casar announced his support for his constituents’ organizing, saying that “The people of my district are a great example of how inclusive perspectives and policies that embrace immigrant families-- rather than incarcerate them-- creates vibrant and successful communities. Read more about Hundreds Prepare for May 2 Protest to #EndFamilyDetention in Dilley, Texas

Apr 29, 2015
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Austin American-Statesman

Protestarán contra centro de detención familiar

Centenares de personas unirán sus voces el sábado 2 para decir ‘‘ya basta’’ a la detención de familias inmigrantes, cuando se realice una protesta en Dilley, a dos horas y media al suroeste de Austin.

En este lugar funciona un centro de detención para mujeres y sus hijos, con capacidad para 480 personas pero que será ampliado por el Gobierno Federal para albergar a 2,400, según información del Servicio de Inmigración y Control de Aduanas de Estados Unidos (ICE).

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‘‘Habrá una marcha y luego se realizará la protesta’’, explicó Bethany Carson, de Grassroots Leadership, quien organiza la logística de la actividad en Dilley para el sábado. Read more about Protestarán contra centro de detención familiar

Over 100 Private Prison Protestors Converge at GEO Group’s Shareholder Meeting

Boca Raton, FL – Today, over 100 people from across the country joined a protest outside the GEO Group’s annual shareholder meeting at the Boca Resort and Club. GEO, a private company, bills itself as the “largest provider of correctional services in the world.” Groups participating in the protest included the Human Rights Defense Center (HRDC) from Lake Worth, Florida and the Austin, Texas-based Grassroots Leadership.
 
HRDC associate director Alex Friedmann, an activist shareholder who owns a small number of shares of GEO Group stock, attended the meeting. When he asked about recent reports of hunger strikes by immigrant women held at the GEO Group-operated Karnes County Family Detention Center in Texas, he was informed by a GEO executive that there was no hunger strike; rather, he said it was a “boycott of dining facilities” at the detention facility.
Read more about Over 100 Private Prison Protestors Converge at GEO Group’s Shareholder Meeting

Apr 19, 2015
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RawStory

Asylum-seeking mothers launch hunger strike over inhumane conditions at Texas detention center

Detained asylum-seeking mothers at a for-profit detention center in Texas have gone on a hunger strike seeking their release, Freedom Speech Radio News reports.

The women, many of whom fled their countries in Central America  out of fear of violence or persecution, have all passed the “credible fear test” and qualify as asylum seekers. Despite that, they are still held with their children — some as young as 2 years old — in the Karnes Residential Center, a prison-like facility in South Texas, waiting for their cases to be processed.

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According to a new report from the Grassroots Leadership, private for-profit prison corporations spent $11 million over six years to lobby Congress to keep a mandatory immigrant detention quota.

Today, 9 out of the 10 largest immigrant detention centers are private, with 8 owned by only two corporations, the GED Group and CCA. Since the end of 2007, the GEO Group has increased their profits by 244% and CCA by 46%. Read more about Asylum-seeking mothers launch hunger strike over inhumane conditions at Texas detention center

Apr 16, 2015
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The Austin Chronicle

Detainees Strike for Freedom: Hunger strikes call attention to conditions at Karnes, elsewhere

Advocates have trained their sights on a similar, newly opened facility in Dilley – 150 miles south, a two-and-a-half-hour drive from Austin. By next month, U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforce­ment will have capacity to hold up to 2,400 at what will be the nation's largest immigrant detention center. Opened in late December, Dilley is operated by Corrections Corporation of America, while the Karnes site is run by the Geo Group Inc., both for-profit companies contracted by government agencies. Some opponents question the logic of spending money to incarcerate immigrants rather than helping them integrate into the community; according to Reuters, the cost to run the Dilley site is $296 per person per day.

"It's incredibly profitable for these corporations," said Bob Libal, executive director of Grassroots Leadership. "I'd argue these are the only people these facilities are good for. It's very detrimental to the well-being and health of the kids and moms detained and enormously expensive for taxpayers to be footing the bill of about $300 a day to detain those individuals." Locally, Grass­roots Leadership and St. Andrew's Pres­by­terian Church will each charter two buses to take protesters to Dilley on May 2, calling for closure of such facilities. They'll be met by other buses from San Antonio, the Valley, Houston, and elsewhere. Read more about Detainees Strike for Freedom: Hunger strikes call attention to conditions at Karnes, elsewhere

Apr 14, 2015
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Huffington Post

Mothers Launch A Second Hunger Strike At Karnes City Family Detention Center

"...Some activists view the private prison industry as partly responsible for the growth of family immigrant detention. The country’s largest private prison company, the Corrections Corporation of America, operates the newly constructed, 2,400-bed family detention center in Dilley, Texas. The second-largest private prison company, GEO Group, runs the 500-bed facility at Karnes City.

Christina Parker [sic], the immigrant programs director at the Austin, Texas-based nonprofit Grassroots Leadership, said Tuesday that letting private companies run detention centers only creates an incentive to lock up more migrants.

'Every bed and every crib represents more profits for them,' Parker said." Read more about Mothers Launch A Second Hunger Strike At Karnes City Family Detention Center

Apr 14, 2015
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Houston Chronicle

Hunger strike by undocumented women at Texas detention facility

"...According to Abdollahi and Cristina Parker, a coordinator with Austin-based Grassroots Leadership, this is the second hunger strike at the Karnes facility because a group of almost 80 women started one in the week that started on Monday March 30th that lasted almost one week.

However, ICE denied in a statement there was a hunger strike at the detention center and said that allegation is 'false.'" Read more about Hunger strike by undocumented women at Texas detention facility

Apr 14, 2015
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DemocracyNow!

Immigrant Mothers in Detention Launch Second Hunger Strike Despite Retaliation

"...Our report noted nearby Crystal City, Texas, was home to a federal internment camp for Japanese and German men, as well as their wives and children, and a local newspaper has referred to the South Texas Family Residential Center as an internment camp despite objections by Corrections Corporation of America, the private prison company that operates it.

Advocates say the comparison of that facility to present day family detention centers in Texas could haunt President Obama.

'He could go down in history not just as the deporter in chief," said Cristina Parker, with the group Grassroots Leadership, "but as the president who presided over the return of modern day internment camps on U.S. soil.'" Read more about Immigrant Mothers in Detention Launch Second Hunger Strike Despite Retaliation

Apr 10, 2015
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Southern Studies

Immigrant mothers held in private detention facility in Texas threaten to renew hunger strike

"Individual women have shared their experiences at Karnes in letters posted to the website of the End Family Detention advocacy network. One woman who has been held there since the facility was converted into a family detention center last August wrote that her daughter wasn't eating and was losing weight. She was also worried about unsuitable drinking water at the center, which is located in an area where thousands of oil and gas wells have been drilled, but didn't have enough money to buy water from the store. Colorlines reported that the women are paid $3 a day to work at the facility -- the price of a single bottle of water.

Immigrations and Customs Enforcement (ICE) spokespeople have denied being aware of a hunger strike at the center. However, advocates in contact with the detainees reported that the women experienced retaliation from guards and ICE officials in response to the protest. Three women and their children were even locked in an unlit room in the medical infirmary on the first day of the strike. Mothers were also threatened with separation from their children and with deportations. Such threats are routinely made in the facility in response to issues like children's misbehavior but increased during the strike, according to Cristina Parker withGrassroots Leadership, a nonprofit that advocates for the abolition of private prisons." Read more about Immigrant mothers held in private detention facility in Texas threaten to renew hunger strike

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