Texans United for Families

Texans United for Families, or TUFF, came together during the fight to end family detention at the T. Don Hutto Detention Center, just north of Austin. TUFF is a grassroots, all-volunteer-driven project of Grassroots Leadership. We support and coordinate TUFF members in their mission to fight back against immigrant detention and deportation close to home. In response to the influx of Central American families and children seeking refuge at the border, the Obama Administration announced the return of family detention in 2014. TUFF is fighting back to end this inhumane practice. Find out more about the consequences of family detention.

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Sep 4, 2014
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Daily Mail

Seven-year-old Salvadoran girl with brain tumor is released from immigrant detention center so that she can get treatment after uproar

A seven-year-old Salvadoran cancer sufferer has finally been released from an immigrant detention center in Texas so that she can get treatment for her brain tumor after weeks of delays.

Following uproar from advocacy groups, Nayely Bermudez Beltran and her mother, Sara Beltran Rodriguez, were allowed to leave the Karnes County Residential Center on Wednesday night so that the little girl can undergo treatment next week.

The duo fled violence in El Salvador in July and when they entered the U.S., Beltran immediately told border patrol officers that the girl needed medical attention, the Houston Chronicle reported.

But they were transferred to the center in Karnes County without Nayely undergoing any treatment - and even though they had a place to stay, authorities would not release them or set bail,Grassroots Leadership explained.

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One of the doctors, neurologist Dr. Simon Carlson, urged ICE to release the girl, saying that her health could 'take a turn for the worse with little to no forewarning, with devastating outcomes'.

'Urgent care is needed for this child, and she is likely to suffer long term brain damage or worse if left to routine care without urgent specialist intervention,' he said.  

On Wednesday, the agency finally released the pair and they went to a shelter in Austin, according to Texans United for Families, which helped fight for their release.

Photographs taken outside the shelter show the mother and daughter grinning with their lawyer.

'Nayely and Sara just walked out of the Karnes family detention center,' the caption read. 'They are on their way to a warm and welcoming place in Austin and Nayely is going to see a doctor on Tuesday.' Read more about Seven-year-old Salvadoran girl with brain tumor is released from immigrant detention center so that she can get treatment after uproar

Humpday Hall of Shame: Nayely is only 7 and fighting brain cancer in detention

UPDATE: Nayely and Sara were finally relased on Wednesday, September 3 after hundreds of calls poured into the facility demanding their release.

This week on Humpday Hall of Shame we are highlighting the Karnes County family detention center, which is operated by GEO Group. Beginning August 1 of this year, Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) began using Karnes to hold more than 500 women and children who have recently come to the U.S. from Central America seeking refuge.

Recent reports indicate that ICE is unwilling to grant any bonds, or grants exorbitantly high bonds — even to those women with children who are able to pass a credible fear interview and qualify to apply for asylum status. According to ICE spokeswoman Nina Pruneda, bond decisions are now being made on a case-by-case basis with consideration given to flight risk and public safety.  However, the majority of the women currently being denied bond can prove that they have family members or others who are available to receive them. This new policy was handed down as a reaction to the influx of women and children fleeing from increasing violence in Central America.

Read more about Humpday Hall of Shame: Nayely is only 7 and fighting brain cancer in detention

Seven Year Old With Brain Tumor Being Denied Life Saving Treatment in Detention

(AUSTIN)— Nayely Beltran is seven years old. She has a progressive, malignant brain tumor that requires immediate treatment by a specialist. Despite pleas from her attorney and doctors, Nayely is not receiving the medical attention that could save her life because she is being detained by Immigration and Customs Enforcement, ICE, at Karnes, a family detention facility where more than 500 refugee women and children from Central America are being held. 

Read more about Seven Year Old With Brain Tumor Being Denied Life Saving Treatment in Detention

Families for families: The fight against detaining immigrant families begins today

This Saturday, Grassroots Leadership joined more than 50 other members and supporters of the Texans United for Families coalition for a vigil at the T. Don Hutto detention center, a private prison in Taylor, Texas.  The vigil marked the 5th anniversary of the long but successful campaign to end the shameful practice of detaining immigrant families — including small children — at the facility.  

The mood was solemn at the vigil as protesters were confronted with the renewal of mass family detention of refugee children and families from Central America.  The Obama Administration has announced the opening of a family detention center in Artesia, New Mexico and has begun detaining families at a GEO Group-operated facility in Karnes County, Texas. The administration has asked for funding for up to 6,300 family detention beds across the country.  

Read more about Families for families: The fight against detaining immigrant families begins today

#TBT: When a movement helped end family detention at T. Don Hutto

In the last month, the reaction to the rise in refugee children and families from Central America at the southern border has been decidedly mixed.  On one hand, faith groups and residents of border communities have rallied to provide relief for migrants often badly depleted after a long and dangerous journey.  On the other hand, vigilantes and their political allies have used the humanitarian crisis to call for an even more militarized border and draconian enforcement efforts.   Read more about #TBT: When a movement helped end family detention at T. Don Hutto

Aug 7, 2014
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KEYE TV

Groups Want Creation of Family Detention Stopped

Several groups launched a campaign today to stop the creation of immigrant family detention centers.

"This is something that's been announced in the last month, that the Obama Administration is returning to the practice of detaining immigrant and refugee families in mass," says Bob Libal, the executive director of Grassroots Leadership.

... "We think that putting little kids behind prison walls particularly prison walls operated by a for profit prison corporation is absolutely the wrong thing," says Libal. Read more about Groups Want Creation of Family Detention Stopped

Aug 6, 2014
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KUT.org

A Private Prison Group Runs Texas' New Immigrant Detention Center

...[An] ICE official said the agency had no choice in picking GEO. The contract, he explained, is not through ICE but through Karnes County.

The view from the Karnes City facility's upper-level residences.
Credit Ilana Panich-Linsman/KUT

Bob Libal says subcontracting is part of the strategy GEO has used to stay in business despite persistent lawsuits. Libal leads Grassroots Leadership – a nonprofit organization that, among other things, researches the shortcomings of for-profit prison corporations.

"Whenever anything goes wrong ICE says, ‘This is not our problem, this is the county's problem,’” Libal says. “But really, you have layers of lack of transparency and lack of accountability that are built into these contracts.”

Libal says GEO is Texas' first choice to run detention centers, prisons and mental health facilities in part because they save the state money by cutting costs.

But he also notes the group is a very generous political contributor at the state and federal levels, and has one of the strongest lobbying teams he’s ever seen. Two members of the company’s board of directors are former members of the George W. Bush administration; Libal says there’s a sort of “buddy-buddy” relationship within GEO's county contract negotiations. Read more about A Private Prison Group Runs Texas' New Immigrant Detention Center

Aug 6, 2014
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La Voz de Houston

Texanos Unidos por las Familias pide no internar familias indocumentadas en centros de detención

La organización Texanos Unidos por las Familias (TUF, por sus siglas en inglés) inició este miércoles una campaña para pedir al gobierno federal que minimice el número de familias indocumentadas detenidas recientemente en la frontera a las que interna en centros de detención.

Miembros de TUF, que participaron esta mañana en una conferencia de prensa celebrada en Austin, recalcaron que uno de los problemas que implican los centros de detención es que para los detenidos tener acceso a representación legal se complica mucho.

Uno de los centros de detención a los que las autoridades están llevando a algunas de las familias indocumentadas es el que está ubicado en Karnes City, en Texas, concretamente 60 millas al sureste de San Antonio. Otro de los centros de detención de familias indocumentadas está en Artesia (Nuevo México).

“Es un centro (de detención) que está en medio de la nada, es muy remoto y allí no hay servicios legales pro-bono”, comentó sobre el centro de Karnes City Bob Libal, director ejecutivo de Grassroots Leadership, uno de los grupos que forman parte de TUF.

Libal añadió que la mayoría de familias a las que intenta defender la campaña de TUF están formadas por madres e hijos, aunque en algunos casos también hay padres. Read more about Texanos Unidos por las Familias pide no internar familias indocumentadas en centros de detención

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