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.
Texans United for Families
At the end of May I was part of a small delegation that went to Dallas to attend the opening festivities of a newly formed group, the Center for Theological Activism. At the dinner I met a number of progressive clergy who expressed real interest in learning more about the groups we represented. Alejandro Caceres and Susana Pimiento were there from the Austin Immigrant Rights Coalition and I was there to talk about immigrant detention and the Hutto Visitation Program. Two of the clergy that seemed to be the most interested in the issue of detention were a Methodist Youth Minister, Jason Redick and the Rev. Jim Mitulski, the senior Pastor of the Cathedral of Hope.
It was the first time I had been to the Cathedral of Hope, which is known as the largest LGBT congregation in Dallas, and probably in all of Texas. The congregation was also racially diverse and included many families and children as well. In fact, I believe the Cathedral of Hope may be the most integrated, inclusive religious congregation I have had the opportunity to visit.Read more about Building bridges in Dallas
... Bob Libal, executive director of Grassroots Leadership, an advocacy organization that has campaigned against family detention and the for-profit prison industry, said the government would likely be eager to keep contracting family detention centers to private companies.
“It’s an easy solution for the government because there are private prison corporations that have excess capacity, particularly today, with declining state prison populations,” he said. “And it’s about influence -- private prison corporations are enormously powerful, particularly in immigration.” Libal noted that Julie Myers Wood, former head of U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement, is a member of GEO Group’s board of directors, and that David Venturella, former head of the "Secure Communities" enforcement program, is now a GEO Group senior vice president .... Read more about Migrant Family Detentions On The Rise, And Private Companies Stand To Profit
(AUSTIN, Texas) — Grassroots Leadership is deeply disappointed by the announcement today that the Karnes County Civil Detention Center southeast of San Antonio will be used to detain families and children fleeing violence in Central America.
The 600-bed Karnes County Detention Center is operated by for-profit private prison company GEO Group which has a long history of prisoner abuse, lawsuits alleging human rights violations, and deaths in custody. Read more about Grassroots Leadership decries return of for-profit immigrant family detention in Texas
Cuellar’s public push to detain and deport migrant children drew a rebuke (The Hill, July 11, 2014) last week from the Congressional Hispanic Caucus. CHC’s chairman Ruben Hinojosa, a fellow Texan told reporters at a press conference that: "Henry Cuellar does not represent the Congressional Hispanic Caucus. He's a Blue Dog; he comes to the meetings once in a long time."
The CHC has called for maintaining legal protections for children from Central America and allowing kids to be able to fight their cases in courts rather than through an expedited deportation policy. Experts have noted that Honduras — the country where the most unaccompanied children are migrating — has the highest murder rate in the world and that rapid deportation of children and families would result in some of those deportees being killed.Read more about Humpday Hall of Shame - Henry Cuellar wants kids deported ASAP, hauls in private prison cash
On Saturday, July 12, Texans United for Families (TUFF) joined immigrant rights advocates and organizers from around Texas gathered to shine a light on the inappropriate and dangerous conditions at the Jack Harwell Detention Center in Waco. Read more about Texans target Waco detention center after reports of sub-standard conditions for immigrants
A disappointing decision by the Obama administration was announced Friday morning in response to a recent influx of Central American migrants crossing through the Southwest border, many of them children. According to officials, the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) will seek to detain more of these individuals and accelerate their cases in immigration courts to speed up their deportations. Read more about Obama administration offers poor response to a humanitarian crisis
Guest blogger Courtney Greene is a regular volunteer with Texans United for Families (TUFF) and a regularly visits women in detention through the Hutto Visitation Program.
Efforts continue around the country to end the immigrant detention quota. On Friday, May 9, protestors marched and rallied in Washington, D.C. to #EndTheQuota. Five were arrested including Grassroots Leadership Executive Director, Bob Libal.
Earlier in the week, pro-immigrant groups and individuals from across the U.S. called and emailed their congressional representatives to demand the immigrant detention quota be stopped.
The quota requires the Department of Homeland Security and Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) to fill 34,000 beds in immigrant detention centers each day. The quota is unjust, inhumane and primarily benefits the for-profit companies that run the detention centers. In TUFF’s view, here are the top 3 reasons to advocate for the immediate end of the immigrant detention quota:
On Thursday, April 17 supporters of TUFF and the Hutto Visitation Program came together at El Sol y La Luna for our 4th annual Dancing Away Detention benefit show. We got to hear the music of Kiko Villamizar as we munched on delicious appetizers, and Queer Qumbia kept folks dancing until the end of the evening.
The event is organized to raise funds to sustain the work of the Hutto Visitation Program, and this year, we were also able to share a large portion of the money with a family whose resources have been severely strained by the detention of their father, Jose Jiménez Cortez. We received donations for our silent auction from local businesses and artists who gave us a variety of gift certificates, tickets and works of art.Read more about The Fourth Annual Dancing Away Detention Was a Hit!