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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Oct 29, 2015
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Houston Press

Women Detained at Texas Immigration Lockup Launch Hunger Strike

Eighteen women jailed at the T Don Hutto immigrant detention center in Taylor sent letters to activists this week announcing a hunger strike inside the embattled immigration lockup, which is run by a for-profit prison company.

According to activists with Grassroots Leadership, an Austin-based nonprofit that was sent the letters this week, there could be as many as 27 women starving themselves to protest the conditions of their confinement. Most of the women are asylum seekers who fled violence in their home countries, according to Grassroots.

The women raise a number of longstanding claims against federal immigration officials, the private-prison companies they contract with to jail undocumented immigrants, and even the immigration court system in general. In their letters, the women say they've been jailed in deplorable conditions while their legal cases drag on for months. Some say they haven't received adequate medical care. (Neither federal immigration officials nor the company that runs the facility has responded to requests for comment; we'll update if and when we hear back.) Read more about Women Detained at Texas Immigration Lockup Launch Hunger Strike

Oct 30, 2015
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RT

'They treat us like dogs': 27 women detained in Texas immigration center begin hunger strike

Nearly 30 women at an immigration detention facility in Texas have begun a hunger strike. In their letters, made public by a civil rights group, they highlight “grave injustices,” detentions of up to 18 months, inedible food, and “little or no security.” Read more about 'They treat us like dogs': 27 women detained in Texas immigration center begin hunger strike

Oct 28, 2015
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The Austin Chronicle

Breaking: Hutto Detainees Begin Hunger Strike

Grassroots Leadership announced today that a group of 27 women being held at the T. Don Hutto Detention Center in Taylor, Texas, are beginning a hunger strike to protest the conditions at the facility and demand liberation.

The women, immigrants and refugees who are being held at the euphemistically named "center" – in practice, a for-profit prison – are likely to be deported. Until then, they are incarcerated in what they describe as abysmal conditions. Read more about Breaking: Hutto Detainees Begin Hunger Strike

Oct 29, 2015
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ThinkProgress

Immigrant Women Launch Indefinite Hunger Strike, Asking To Be Freed From Detention Center

Detained women seeking asylum or other forms of humanitarian relief began an indefinite hunger strike at an immigration detention center in Texas on Wednesday night, sending hand-written letters to the federal government calling for their release.

At least 27 immigrant women refused dinner on Wednesday at the T. Don Hutto detention center, which is run by the private prison company Corrections Corporation of America. The majority of the women came to the U.S. after fleeing violence and poverty in Central America, and many have already passed their “credible fear” or “reasonable fear” interviews — a preliminary step in the asylum application process. Read more about Immigrant Women Launch Indefinite Hunger Strike, Asking To Be Freed From Detention Center

BREAKING: At least 27 women on hunger strike at the Hutto Detention Center #Hutto27

The women were unanimous about their one and only demand: immediate release. 

 

UPDATE: The Hunger stike continues for a third day. ICE has retaliated against the women at the center by denying them time outside when they might see our vigil and hear our chants. 

News broke Wednesday evening that at least 27 women refused dinner at the T. Don Hutto Detention Center in Taylor, Texas as the start of a hunger strike.  Read more about BREAKING: At least 27 women on hunger strike at the Hutto Detention Center #Hutto27

TUFF Film Screening: “La Bestia”

WHAT: Screening of La Bestia

WHO: Texans United for Families

WHEN: Thursday, August 13. Doors at 7:30 p.m., film starts at 8:30 p.m.

WHERE: Spiderhouse Ballroom, 2906 Fruth St, Austin, TX 78705

(AUSTIN, Texas) — Texans United for Families invites you to join us for a screening of La Bestia and an interactive discussion about why people migrate and what it means for us in Austin.   Read more about TUFF Film Screening: “La Bestia”

Jul 10, 2015
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Austin American-Statesman

Rick Perry reprises sanctuary cities issue on a national stage

"One of the underpinnings of Rick Perry’s long-shot bid for president is that his 14 years of governing a state with a 1,200-mile border with Mexico gives him unique authority on immigration issues.

Then, less than a month ago, real estate mogul Donald Trump entered the race with what seemed a few ill-chosen words on the subject and stormed to the front of the crowded GOP pack, his position strengthened by the tragic July 1 shooting death in San Francisco of 32-year-old Kathryn Steinle, allegedly by Francisco Sanchez, a five-time deportee from Mexico who eluded being deported a sixth time because he found himself in a 'sanctuary city.'
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Bob Libal, executive director of the Austin office of Grassroots Leadership, which backs sanctuary policies, said that no community in Texas fits that description of a sanctuary city.

'We are not a sanctuary city,' said Austin Police Chief Art Acevedo. At the same time, Acevedo said, 'Most major city police chiefs believe that in an era of limited resources, we are not immigration agents, we’re not ICE.'

The crucial distinction between San Francisco and Austin is that Travis County Sheriff Greg Hamilton, who runs the jail, cooperates with ICE when they ask that a prisoner they suspect of being in the country illegally be detained for extra time, while the sheriff in San Francisco does not." Read more about Rick Perry reprises sanctuary cities issue on a national stage

Jul 9, 2015
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The Dallas Observer

Texas Immigrant Prison Accidentally Gave a Bunch of Kids an Adult-Strength Vaccine

"...The vaccine overdose was exposed on July 4 by immigration attorneys, who, along with prisoner advocates, are using the instance to make the case that family detention camps are inhumane and should be shut down. The South Texas Family Residential Center in Dilley is operated by the Corrections Corporation of America, one of two corporations that has profited tremendously from the influx of illegal immigrants crossing the border.

The Dilley center, which now has 2,400 beds, is the largest of its kind in the United States. A report by the prison advocacy group Grassroots Leadership earlier this year found that the CCA has in particular benefited from the "bed quota," the mandate passed by lawmakers that says the Department of Homeland Security must  "maintain a level of not less than 33,400 detention beds."

Crystal Williams, executive director of the American Immigration Lawyers Association, describes a traumatic atmosphere at the South Texas camp: "..children have been forced to sleep with the lights on, are subject to intrusive checks regularly throughout the night, and have been dragged from their beds at 4 a.m. to be given shots while their mothers must stand helplessly by without being told what is going on or being allowed a say in the matter."

Grassroots Leadership consulted with a University of Texas medical student, who said that, while most of the kids should be fine, 'the symptoms that Barbara [Hines] saw are consistent with vaccine overdose ... This is a red flag warning of deeper problems with medical care in detention centers, and reminds us why private prison corporations should not be entrusted with the care of children.'" Read more about Texas Immigrant Prison Accidentally Gave a Bunch of Kids an Adult-Strength Vaccine

Jul 9, 2015
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¡Ahora Sí!

Visitas alivian y llevan esperanza a indocumentadas detenidas

"Durante los últimos cinco años el programa de visitas Hutto Visitation Program ha buscado aliviar en parte el sufrimiento que viven las detenidas, al conectarlas con voluntarios de Austin.

La iniciativa es ejecutada por Grassroots Leadership, una organización que apoya causas relacionadas con justicia social, inmigración y activismo ciudadano, y les ofrecen amistad y les llevan esperanza mientras están confinadas.

Moncada vivía ansiosa, frustrada y, como muchas de las más de 500 mujeres que alberga el centro de detención T. Don Hutto, no sabía por cuánto tiempo debía pasar encerrada por su delito: entrar a Estados Unidos ilegalmente para no morir a manos del padre de sus hijos, aseguró. Su situación mejoró cuando conoció a Rocío Villalobos, una joven voluntaria del programa.

Para mujeres como Moncada, conocer a las voluntarias les da a las detenidas fuerza para seguir luchando por sus casos de inmigración y conseguir así un estatus legal, según sus organizadores y participantes." Read more about Visitas alivian y llevan esperanza a indocumentadas detenidas

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