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 4, 2016
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Buzzfeed News

Texas Immigrant Detention Center Gets Child Care License

Texas has awarded a for-profit prison company a child care license, a move that could help the detention center get around a federal court order and detain undocumented immigrant women and their children.

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On Tuesday, two mothers detained in Texas and Grassroots Leadership, an Austin-based organization, asked a state court to issue a temporary injunction and temporary restraining order against an emergency rule that allowed the Texas Department of Family and Protective Services to license private groups operating family detention centers.

The filings are the latest part of a legal battle between immigrant advocacy groups and Texas Department of Family and Protective Services. Read more about Texas Immigrant Detention Center Gets Child Care License

May 4, 2016
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The Guardian

Lawsuit aims to stop licensing of Texas immigration detention facilities

Immigration activists are fighting back against a Texas decision to license immigration detention centres that critics call “baby jails”.

A lawsuit was launched on Tuesday in an attempt to stop the licensing, four days after the Texas department of family and protective services (DFPS) granted a childcare licence to one of two federal family holding facilities near San Antonio, with the second set to receive its permit imminently.

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Yet the DFPS pressed on and now faces a lawsuit from Grassroots Leadership, an Austin-based group opposed to private prisons, and two detained mothers. It argues that the DFPS is overstepping its authority by regulating places that are not, in reality, childcare establishments. Patrick Crimmins, a DFPS spokesman, said the agency is reviewing the suit and consulting with the state’s attorney general’s office.

“By all reasonable measures, family detention camps are prisons. They are not childcare facilities,” Bob Libal, executive director of Grassroots Leadership, said in a statement. It is not the first time the group has taken legal action on the issue: It won a temporary injunction last November to stop the state from using an emergency rule to fast-track the licensing process without public comment. Read more about Lawsuit aims to stop licensing of Texas immigration detention facilities

May 3, 2016
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Telemundo

Estado da licencias de guardería a centro de detención, activistas entablan demanda

El Departamento de Familia y Servicios de Protección de Texas decidió licenciar por seis meses al centro de Karnes como guardería, al cabo del plazo, habrá inspecciones y el centro podrá obtener la licencia permanente.

Pero la organización pro-inmigrante Grassroots Leadership entabló acción legal el martes, pidiéndole a una corte del Condado Travis una restricción temporal de esta práctica.

"Los centros de detención familiares son prisiones", dijo Bob Libal, Director Ejecutivo de Grassroots Leadership. Read more about Estado da licencias de guardería a centro de detención, activistas entablan demanda

May 4, 2016
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Fox News

Texas immigrant family detention center granted child-care license

HOUSTON –  One of the nation's largest detention centers for families caught crossing the southern U.S. border has received a temporary residential child-care license, amid discussions over whether the federal government will keep using such facilities.

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Immigrant advocates criticized the decision to grant the temporary license, citing reports of inadequate medical care and other issues as reasons why such facilities shouldn't get licenses. One group, Grassroots Leadership, said Tuesday that it and two mothers detained at Texas facilities with their children had sued in Austin to stop the licensing. Read more about Texas immigrant family detention center granted child-care license

May 3, 2016
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Austin American-Statesman

Immigrant rights advocates file suit against detention center

Civil rights advocates are once more turning to the legal system in an attempt to stop federal officials from holding immigrant children at two controversial family detention centers in South Texas.

Grassroots Leadership, an Austin-based nonprofit that opposes private prison companies, and two detainee mothers are asking a judge to invalidate new regulations that went into effect in February and allow the state to issue childcare licenses to the facilities. The Texas Department of Family and Protective Services, the plaintiffs say, never had the authority to rewrite the rules and give itself the power to regulate the centers.

“The state legislature told this agency that it is to care for children,” said Bob Libal, executive director of Grassroots Leadership. “The agency has the authority to license childcare care facilities as childcare facilities. It doesn’t have the authority to license prisons as childcare facilities.” Read more about Immigrant rights advocates file suit against detention center

May 3, 2016
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Texas Observer

Immigrant Families Sue to Stop Licensing Detention Centers for Child Care

On Tuesday, Grassroots Leadership, an Austin nonprofit opposed to private prisons, is also a plaintiff in the suit, which was filed in state court in Austin. Grassroots Leadership and the detained mothers have asked a judge to stop the licensure both of the Karnes facility and the South Texas Residential Center in Dilley. Together, the two facilities currently house about 1,800 immigrant mothers and children, many of whom are fleeing gang violence and persecution in Central America.

“By all reasonable measures, family detention camps are prisons. They are not child care facilities,” said Bob Libal, Grassroots Leadership’s executive director, in a press release.

DFPS spokesperson Patrick Crimmins told the Observer that the agency is “reviewing and consulting with the [Texas attorney general’s] office” regarding the lawsuit. Read more about Immigrant Families Sue to Stop Licensing Detention Centers for Child Care

May 3, 2016
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ABC News

Immigrant Family Detention Center Granted Child-Care License

One of the nation's largest detention centers for families caught crossing the southern U.S. border has received a temporary residential child-care license, amid discussions over whether the federal government will keep using such facilities.

The Texas Department of Family and Protective Services granted the six-month license last week to the 500-bed facility in Karnes City, southeast of San Antonio, agency spokesman Patrick Crimmins said Tuesday. The private prison firm that runs the facility for U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement, GEO Group Inc., had requested it after a federal judge said last year that kids couldn't stay in the centers because they weren't approved to care for children.

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Immigrant advocates criticized the decision to grant the temporary license, citing reports of inadequate medical care and other issues as reasons why such facilities shouldn't get licenses. One group, Grassroots Leadership, said Tuesday that it and two mothers detained at Texas facilities with their children had sued in Austin to stop the licensing.

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"Anyone who has been to either of these facilities understands that they are prison facilities," said Bob Libal, executive director of Austin-based Grassroots Leadership. "The real question is, does an agency have the right to license a prison as a child-care facility? We think that the answer is no. They would have to go to the Legislature to get that approval." Read more about Immigrant Family Detention Center Granted Child-Care License

Grassroots Leadership and detained families sue to stop childcare licensing for family prisons in Texas

(AUSTIN, Texas) — Today, Grassroots Leadership and two mothers who are detained in Texas with their children filed papers in state court in Austin seeking a Temporary Injunction and Temporary Restraining Order to halt the licensing of controversial family detention centers in South Texas. Read more about Grassroots Leadership and detained families sue to stop childcare licensing for family prisons in Texas

May 2, 2016
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Texas Observer

Texas Licenses Detention Center for Child Care, Despite Deficiencies

Texas has granted a temporary residential child care license to a controversial immigrant detention center, despite “deficiencies” uncovered in a recent inspection.

The initial license took effect Friday, April 29, said Department of Family and Protective Services (DFPS) spokesperson Patrick Crimmins.

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“It is deeply disappointing, but not surprising, that the state of Texas has put a rubber stamp on family detention at Karnes,” said Cristina Parker, immigration project coordinator at the nonprofit Grassroots Leadership, in an emailed statement to the Observer. “Today, our state took this step not to protect children, but to protect the federal government from [the federal] order.” Read more about Texas Licenses Detention Center for Child Care, Despite Deficiencies

Apr 29, 2016
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The Austin Chronicle

"Every Human Being Is Legal"

When Immigration and Customs Enforce­ment (ICE) announced at the beginning of this year that it would be intensifying its efforts to deport certain undocumented immigrants, Hilda Ramirez decided it was time to seek sanctuary.

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Ramirez, who fled Guatemala in fear of her life, has been denied asylum. Her appeal of the initial denial was also rejected. Yet there is still hope that Ivan, who is now 10, will be granted asylum on appeal, explained Alejandro Caceres, immigration organizer at Grassroots Leadership and coordinator of the ICE Out of Austin campaign. Additionally, Ramirez's attorney plans to file for a stay of removal, which would prevent the Department of Homeland Security from carrying out an order of deportation. Through "prosecutorial discretion," ICE has the authority to suspend deportation cases that are not priorities, such as immigrants who do not pose threats to national security, border security, and public safety. "We want Immigration to use the power they have to withhold Hilda's deportation because, clearly, she is not a priority," said Caceres. Read more about "Every Human Being Is Legal"

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