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

Jun 1, 2016
Reporte Austin

Acciones Contra Las Redadas De ICE

La vida de un inmigrante sin documentos puede cambiar con un toque a la puerta, un toque a la puerte de un agente de Inmigración y Control de Aduanas o ICE por sus siglas en Inglés, puede ser lo que cambie toda nuestras vida para siempre. Para muchos inmigrantes ese toque a la puerta a sido como un golpe al corazon, sabiendo que ese dia puede sera el ultimo dia que van a ver a su familia. Sabiendo que ese agente tiene el poder de levantar a toda la familia, esposo, esposa, niños, niñas o a cualquier persona que encuentren en su casa que ellos piensen que no tengan documentos para llevarlos a un centro de detención y después deportarlos. [node:read-more:link]

Court to hear further arguments on family detention licensing lawsuit

WHAT: Hearing on temporary restraining order and temporary injunction related to licensing of family detention centers and childcare facilities

WHO: Judge Karin Crump will hear arguments from plaintiffs Grassroots Leadership, detained families who sued Texas Department of Family Protective Services

WHEN:  Wednesday, June 1st, at 9:00 a.m.

WHERE: 250th District Court, Heman Marion Sweatt Travis County Courthouse, 1000 Guadalupe St, Austin, Texas. [node:read-more:link]

May 26, 2016
The Austin Chronicle

Fighting Family Detention

In 2014, the Obama administration revived the controversial practice of "family detention": incarcerating undocumented female immigrants along with their children. The families have not been convicted of any crime, but are held while they await immigration proceedings. Austin-based civil-rights organization Grassroots Leadership has been fighting back since then, calling on the government to close the for-profit "baby jails." [node:read-more:link]

May 25, 2016
San Antonio Current

Ill-gotten Gains, Gender Equality in Government, Seeing Green

The times in Texas are good for the for-profit prison industry.

The GEO Group, which operates the immigrant detention facility in Karnes County, and Corrections Corp. of America, which runs a similar facility in Dilley, Texas, are rolling in cash.


Grassroots Leadership Immigration Programs Director Cristina Parker said that money is made off of the suffering of mothers and children who came to the U.S. seeking refuge.

"It's sickening to hear CCA and GEO brag about their profitable quarter to shareholders," Parker said. [node:read-more:link]

May 20, 2016

Hillary Clinton attends Austin fundraiser

A handful of immigrant rights advocates in Austin showed up outside the hotel hoping to press Clinton on detention of undocumented family members.

"She has already said that if she becomes president she would end family detention," said Bethany Carson with Grassroots Leadership. "But we are asking her to act sooner, to call on President Obama to end family detention while he is still president because these families cannot wait." [node:read-more:link]

May 20, 2016
San Antonio Current

For-profit Prison Companies in Texas Made Big Money Jailing Immigrants so Far This Year

Two private for-profit prison companies operating immigrant detention facilities in Texas reported strong financial gains to shareholders this month.

The GEO Group, which operates the immigrant detention facility in Karnes County, and Corrections Corp. of America, which runs a similar facility in Dilley, Texas, are rolling in cash.

Grassroots Leadership, an Austin-based organization that seeks to end the for-profit prison industry, reports that GEO Group told shareholders that the 626-bed expansion of the Karnes facility in December 2015 is one of a few reasons why its first quarter revenue for 2016 "increased to approximately $510 million from $427 million a year ago." [node:read-more:link]

May 20, 2016
Texas Public Radio

Clinton Ignores Immigration Group's Request For Meeting During Austin Visit

While Clinton was here for a private meeting with Austin Democratic campaign donors, that didn’t stop members of the nonprofit Grassroots Leadership from trying to have a sit down with Clinton to discuss her promises to close the Karnes City and Dilley family immigration detention centers.  Though not allowed inside, members of the group snuck in and began singing inside the hotel lobby.

Cristina Parker is the immigration program director at Grassroots Leadership.

“This is a state where family detention is a really huge issue, we have massive family detention centers that hold Central American women and children.  Hillary Clinton said she is against this policy, but we are asking her to use her influence as the powerful person that she is to push the Obama administration to end this now.  She said she’ll end it in November, but these women can’t wait, they are suffering.  I don’t think she can ignore this issue in our state and just raise money and leave," Parker explained. [node:read-more:link]

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

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.

(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. [node:read-more:link]

Immigrant rights advocates tell Clinton: Let’s talk about family detention while you’re in Texas

Via Not1More: Erika Almiron of Juntos forced the question of family detention into this town hall. "...We wanted to see not what Clinton promises for the future but what she’s doing now for the women inside," said said.

(AUSTIN, Texas) — Democratic presidential hopeful Sec. Hillary Clinton will be in Austin Friday to attend a fundraiser at the W Hotel and immigrant rights advocates will be in the lobby hoping to talk to the candidate about family detention before she leaves.

They 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 raids on women and children. [node:read-more:link]