Grassroots Leadership Announces Support from Texas Bar Foundation for Detention Visitation Program

June 28, 2013

AUSTIN – Today, Grassroots Leadership announced that it has received a $6,300 grant from the Texas Bar Foundation to support the organization’s efforts to start visitation programs to immigrants held in the nation’s detention system.

“People held in immigrant detention are often far from their loved ones and networks of social support,” said Bob Libal, Executive Director of Grassroots Leadership. “Visitation helps break the isolation of detention for those detained and build a link to the community outside the detention walls.” 

More than 10,000 people are detained in Texas immigration detention centers.  Those immigrants include long-time permanent legal residents as well as migrants from Mexico and Central America who have recently crossed the border and asylum-seekers from all parts of the world. 

At T. Don Hutto, a private prison operated by Corrections Corporation of America, asylum-seeking women from more than 50 countries have been detained.  Currently, more than 500 women are detained at Hutto.  Immigrants in detention are not guaranteed access to legal counsel during their immigration or asylum-hearings. 

For three years, Grassroots Leadership has sponsored the Hutto Visitation Program, matching more than 100 community volunteer visitors with immigrant women detained at Hutto. The program helps break the isolation for women detained at Hutto, builds visitors into advocates for detention reform, and serve as human rights monitors. 

“This generous grant from the Texas Bar Foundation will allow Grassroots Leadership to train legal service providers and community organizations in other Texas cities to create their own visitation programs,” said Libal. 

Since its inception in 1965, the Texas Bar Foundation has awarded more than $14 million in grants to law-related programs.  Supported by members of the State Bar of Texas, the Texas Bar Foundation is the nation’s largest charitably-funded bar foundation. 

Contact: 

Bob Libal, (512) 971-0487, blibal@grassrootsleadership.org