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

May 10, 2016
/
RT

For-profit prison earnings increase due to surge in immigrant family detention centers

Two of the country’s largest for-profit prison companies reported to shareholders that their earnings have swelled thanks to detention centers holding immigrant families.

The Corrections Corporation of America, the largest private corrections firm in the United States, reported revenue of $447.4 million in the first quarter of 2016, a 5 percent increase from the same quarter a year prior, the company reported in a statement.

...

“It’s sickening to hear CCA and GEO brag about their profitable quarter to shareholders,” Cristina Parker, immigration programs director at the immigrant advocacy organization Grassroots Leadership, said in a statement.“That money is made off the suffering of mothers and children who came to the US for refuge.” Read more about For-profit prison earnings increase due to surge in immigrant family detention centers

May 10, 2016
/
ThinkProgress

Private Prison CEOs ‘Pleased’ Their Earnings Soared From Keeping Immigrant Kids In Detention

During separate conference calls to talk about earnings reports, two of the country’s largest for-profit private prisons indicated that they saw their profits soar from holding immigrant mothers and children in detention centers across the country.

Revenues increased during the first quarter of 2016 for both the Corrections Corp. of America and GEO Group, executives told shareholders on conference calls.

CCA saw a revenue of $447.4 million, a 5 percent increase from last year’s first quarter. The company’s press release attributed much of that increase to a federal contract with the Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) agency.

...

“It’s sickening to hear CCA and GEO brag about their profitable quarter to shareholders,” Cristina Parker, immigration programs director at Grassroots Leadership, said in a press release. “That money is made off the suffering of mothers and children who came to the U.S. for refuge.” Read more about Private Prison CEOs ‘Pleased’ Their Earnings Soared From Keeping Immigrant Kids In Detention

May 10, 2016
/
Texas Observer

‘She Lives in Fear,’ Not in El Salvador, but in Texas Detention

After surviving multiple rapes and death threats from MS-13 gang members, a 35-year-old Salvadoran mother gathered up her 12-year-old daughter and fled to the United States in hopes of seeking asylum. But when they arrived in South Texas in March, she says, they faced a new nightmare — an immigrant detention center where they experienced sexual abuse at the hands of another woman housed in the same room.

The mother, referred to as E.G.S. in court documents, and her daughter are detained in the Karnes County Residential Center, a 500-bed federal immigration detention facility run by the private prison company GEO Group, Inc. Between Karnes and a second facility, the South Texas Family Residential Center in Dilley, Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) is currently detaining approximately 1,800 immigrant mothers and children in Texas.

But in order to comply with a federal order that children be housed in licensed residential centers, Texas must categorize these detention facilities as state child care providers. After a controversial start — Texas made its first attempts to license the facilities behind closed doors without public hearings last fall — the state issued its first child care license to the prison company that manages the Karnes facility in late April.

Now, E.G.S and another mother, along with the Austin nonprofit Grassroots Leadership, have sued to stop the state from issuing further licenses. An Austin judge has temporarily halted the licensing until a court hearing Friday. Read more about ‘She Lives in Fear,’ Not in El Salvador, but in Texas Detention

May 6, 2016
/
The Atlantic

Is it an Immigration Detention Facility or a Child-Care Center?

The U.S. has three family detention centers, used to hold migrant children and their mothers as they apply for asylum, and the two largest are in Texas. One is in Dilley, the other in Karnes. They’re both dusty towns between San Antonio and the Mexican border, and together they have about 3,500 beds.

The facilities have been at the center of a legal fight in Texas courts this week. The issue is whether one of these centers could or should be considered a child-care facility. The Obama administration has tried to get Texas to grant its Karnes County Residential Center a child-care license, arguing that the designation would serve in the best interest of immigrant children, who are held there as they’re screened for asylum. But immigration advocates hope to shut down the centers, which they view as prisons––or at the very least, they want the children released. This strange-sounding struggle over a label is about legal semantics, but it’s also about how the U.S. chooses and is allowed to treat migrant children.  Read more about Is it an Immigration Detention Facility or a Child-Care Center?

May 6, 2016
/
NPR

Texas Judge Refuses To License Child Care Facility In Immigrant Detention Center

The latest development made headlines late last week when the Texas Dept. of Family and Protective Services quietly granted a childcare license to the Karnes County Residential Center, run by The GEO Group Inc.

An Austin-based advocacy group, Grassroots Leadership, quickly sued.

"Our contention is that the agency does not have the authority to license prisons as children-care facilities, and these family detention camps are prisons," says Bob Libal, executive director of the organization.

On Wednesday, the state judge granted a temporary restraining order that prevents the state agency from granting another license to a second, larger family detention center. The South Texas Family Residential Center is run by Corrections Corp. of America. Read more about Texas Judge Refuses To License Child Care Facility In Immigrant Detention Center

May 6, 2016
/
The Monitor

COMMENTARY: Remembering all moms, including detained immigrants and their children, this Mother's Day

Libal’s group also has asked a judge to strike down a temporary residential child care license that was issued to the 500-bed Karnes facility, where I toured.

Sure that center has wall drawings by children and child-friendly posters but I would not in any way liken it to a real childcare center, places where some working moms drop their toddlers during the day, give center staff instructions on the type of care they’d like for their youth and the freedom to pick them up and leave with them every evening.

These detained women can’t even eat lunch with their children, much less leave without a judge’s order.

And so as we go into this Mother’s Day weekend and our nation celebrates the blessings of mothers, may we also remember these little ones whose mothers are locked up, unable to cook for their own children or even tell them what to eat. And may our nation, and our state, be guided by our hearts to do better by them. Read more about COMMENTARY: Remembering all moms, including detained immigrants and their children, this Mother's Day

May 6, 2016
/
Houston Press

The State Foster Care System Has a License to Be Terrible at Licensing

A group called Grassroots Leadership has rallied against the Department's licensure of immigration detention centers earlier this week. The group's executive director says, "By all reasonable measures, family detention camps are prisons. They are not childcare facilities." (Grassroots on Wednesday successfully petitioned a Travis County District Court for a temporary restraining order blocking the Department from licensing another detention center. A judge will hear arguments May 13).

But given how the Department conducts business with residential treatment centers, it might be a stretch to call them childcare facilities as well. Read more about The State Foster Care System Has a License to Be Terrible at Licensing

May 6, 2016
/
MintPress News

Texas Incarcerates Immigrant Children In Private Prisons They Call ‘Day Care Centers’

Grassroots Leadership, an Austin-based nonprofit that opposes for-profit prisons, sued Texas over the regulations. Arguing there was no “emergency” allowing the state to waive basic human rights, the nonprofit won a temporary injunction in November. This forced the state to accept public input on the changes. An open records request showed the state received over 5,000 pages of overwhelmingly negative letters and testimony against the proposed rules.

But the state pressed on anyway, and the new rules went into effect on Feb. 12.

In response, immigration reform activists organized a “pop-up day care center” outside the office of Texas Gov. Greg Abbott.

Today, I’m joined by Alejandro Caceres, immigration organizer at Grassroots Leadership. I asked him to tell me more about what inspired this unique direct action and what kind of reaction they received. Read more about Texas Incarcerates Immigrant Children In Private Prisons They Call ‘Day Care Centers’

May 4, 2016
/
The New York Times

Texas: Child Care License Is Delayed For Immigration Detention Center

A state court judge on Wednesday temporarily blocked state authorities from licensing as a child care facility a federal immigration detention center holding migrant children and their mothers. The Texas Department of Family and Protective Services was preparing to issue a child care license to the center, located in Dilley, where families seeking asylum, including very young children, are detained. Ruling on an emergency request by Grassroots Leadership, a prison advocacy group, Judge Karin Crump of Travis County found it was “probable” that new regulations adopted by the department to support the license were inconsistent with state law. On Friday, Texas issued a child care license to a similar detention center nearby in Karnes City. Read more about Texas: Child Care License Is Delayed For Immigration Detention Center

Pages