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

 

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May 5, 2016
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ThinkProgress

Judge Temporarily Blocks Texas From Licensing A ‘Baby Jail’ As A Child Care Center

Immigrant activists are fighting to prevent Texas from licensing controversial detention centers as child care facilities, saying these centers are more accurately described as prisons.

They won a victory in court this week. On Wednesday, an Austin district judge issued a temporary injunction blocking Texas’ largest immigrant family detention center in Dilley from being labeled as a child care facility, after activists from the Grassroots Leadership organization sued on behalf of two Central American mothers being detained there.

The judge issued a week-long restraining order preventing Texas officials from awarding a child care license to the privately-run, for-profit South Texas Family Residential Center. The order expires on May 13, when the court will hear the organization’s request for a temporary injunction against new state regulations to license the center. Read more about Judge Temporarily Blocks Texas From Licensing A ‘Baby Jail’ As A Child Care Center

May 5, 2016
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KSAT 12

Childcare licensing for Dilley family detention camp halted

AUSTIN, Texas - A temporary restraining order was issued Wednesday that prevents the Texas Department of Family and Protective Services from issuing a childcare license to the South Texas Family Residential Care Center in Dilley.

The order is in response to a lawsuit filed by Grassroots Leadership to halt childcare licensing of controversial immigrant family detention centers in South Texas.

The center in Dilley and the Karnes County Residential Center had both applied for licenses under lowered standards, adopted under a new regulation, which were implemented by the agency on March 1. The Karnes facility was granted a childcare license on Friday. Wednesday the court blocked licensure of the Dilley center. Read more about Childcare licensing for Dilley family detention camp halted

May 5, 2016
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Public News Service

TX Judge's Order Blocks Child-Care License for Detention Centers

AUSTIN, Texas - A Texas judge has granted an immigrant rights group, Grassroots Leadership, a temporary restraining order against the Texas Department of Family and Protective Services, blocking its plans to license two controversial, prison-like detention facilities as child-care centers. The group filed the lawsuit claiming that the centers, managed by ICE and operated by for-profit prison corporations, are not an appropriate place to house hundreds of families with children awaiting immigration hearings.

Bob Libal, director of Grassroots Leadership, said his group went to court to stop the state from turning prisons into child-care centers.

"Essentially, what we are saying is that the Legislature has not given authority to the Texas Department of Family and Protective Services to license facilities like this, which are prisons," he said. "It does not have the authority to license prisons as child-care centers." Read more about TX Judge's Order Blocks Child-Care License for Detention Centers
May 4, 2016
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The San Antonio Express News

State faces lawsuit after licensing detention center

AUSTIN — The state’s decision to grant a child care license to a detention facility in Karnes City has prompted a legal battle between the state and a nonprofit grass-roots organization that won a temporary restraining order Wednesday halting licensing until a court appearance next week.

The temporary restraining order was issued by District Judge Karen Crump.

Last week, the Department of Family Planning Services issued a temporary child care license to the Karnes County Residential Center, run by a private prison company. In response, the Austin-based Grassroots Leadership and two mothers detained there with their children filed a lawsuit requesting a temporary injunction and temporary restraining order.

The center in Kanes and a second center, the South Texas Family Residential Center in Dilley, were opened in 2014 to hold families from Central America. Dilley also has a license application pending, but on Wednesday the judge temporarily blocked the state from issuing one until the May 13 hearing.

Bob Libal, executive director of Grassroots Leadership, said a trial date has not been set for the suit but that conversations are in the works and the case could be heard next week. The state attorney general’s office will represent the state, DFPS spokesperson Patrick Crimmins said. Read more about State faces lawsuit after licensing detention center

May 5, 2016
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KENS

Judge halts detention center from receiving childcare permit

SAN ANTONIO -- Immigrant advocates are fighting to stop the largest South Texas detention center from getting its child-care permit.

On Wednesday, a judge issued a temporary restraining order in response to a lawsuit filed by Grassroots Leadership.

“Today, we are glad a judge has agreed to halt, at least temporarily, the appalling practice of labeling family prisons as childcare facilities," said Bob Libal, executive director of Grassroots Leadership. "Family detention camps are prisons. They are not childcare facilities." Read more about Judge halts detention center from receiving childcare permit

May 4, 2016
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Houston Chronicle

Judge halts agency's effort to license detention center as a child-care facility

AUSTIN - The state's decision to grant a childcare license to a detention facility in Karnes City has prompted a legal battle between the state and a nonprofit grass-roots organization that won a temporary restraining order Wednesday, halting licensing until a court appearance next week.

The temporary restraining order was issued by state District Judge Karen Crump.

Last week, the Department of Family Planning Services issued a temporary child-care license to the Karnes County Residential Center, run by a private prison company. In response, the Austin-based Grassroots Leadership and two mothers detained in the facility with their children filed a lawsuit requesting a temporary injunction and temporary restraining order. Read more about Judge halts agency's effort to license detention center as a child-care facility

May 4, 2016
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Austin American-Statesman

Judge issues restraining order in family detention center case

A state district judge in Travis County has issued a temporary retraining order against the Texas Department of Family and Protective Services, preventing the agency from issuing a childcare license to one of two controversial family detention centers in South Texas.

Grassroots Leadership, an Austin-based nonprofit that opposes private prison companies, and two detainee mothers on Tuesday asked Judge Karin Crump to invalidate new regulations that went into effect in February and allow the state to issue childcare licenses to the facilities. The state family services department, the plaintiffs say, never had the authority to rewrite the rules and give itself the power to regulate the centers.

Crump on Wednesday agreed to issue the restraining order until May 13, when the court will take up the plaintiffs’ request on the new regulations.

“This is a very good sign that the judge has recognized that we must, at least temporarily, halt the appalling practice of calling family prisons childcare centers,” said Bob Libal, executive director of Grassroots Leadership. Read more about Judge issues restraining order in family detention center case

May 4, 2016
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ABC News

Judge Blocks Child-Care License for Family Detention Center

A judge has blocked a temporary residential child-care license for one of the nation's largest detention centers for families caught crossing the southern U.S. border illegally.

The licenses are needed because a federal judge ruled last year the centers would have to eventually release the immigrant children without them.

State District Judge Karin Crump signed a temporary restraining order Wednesday that blocks issuance of a license to the privately owned and managed, 2,400-bed South Texas Family Residential Center in Dilley, Texas.

The order was sought by an activist group that opposes for-profit prisons. It is effective until May 13, when arguments are scheduled on a temporary injunction to halt the licensing indefinitely. Read more about Judge Blocks Child-Care License for Family Detention Center

May 4, 2016
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The Texas Tribune

Judge Blocks State From Licensing Family Detention Center

An Austin judge temporarily blocked the Texas Department of Family and Protective Services from issuing a childcare license to an immigration detention center in Dilley on Wednesday.

Grassroots Leadership, a nonprofit organization opposed to for-profit prisons, sued the department on Tuesday challenging its authority to issue childcare licenses to privately run immigration detention centers in Dilley and Karnes City. The Karnes City facility has already received a temporary license. 

“Today, we are glad a judge has agreed to halt, at least temporarily, the appalling practice of labeling family prisons as childcare facilities,” said Bob Libal, executive director of Grassroots Leadership in a statement. “Family detention camps are prisons. They are not childcare facilities. DFPS has for a decade refused to regulate these facilities because they do not have authority to do so." Read more about Judge Blocks State From Licensing Family Detention Center

Judge issues Temporary Restraining Order halting Texas agency’s effort to license family detention center as a childcare facility

(AUSTIN, Texas) — A judge in Austin today issued a Temporary Restraining Order preventing the Texas Department of Family and Protective Services from implementing 40 TEX. ADMIN. CODE § 748.7 to issue a childcare license to the South Texas Family Residential Center in Dilley, Texas. Read more about Judge issues Temporary Restraining Order halting Texas agency’s effort to license family detention center as a childcare facility

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