New regulation would allow migrant children and families to be held indefinitely in detention camps

August 21, 2019

Advocates raise alarm at negative impact on children’s well-being; private prison corporations stand to increase profits if new regulation prevails in court

AUSTIN, Tex. — The Trump administration announced earlier today a new regulation that would allow the government to detain children and families caught crossing the border indefinitely. 

“What we saw today is part of a larger attack on the legal protections that vulnerable people have in the immigration system, particularly children and families that are fleeing from violence in their home countries,” said Claudia Muñoz, Immigration Programs Director for Grassroots Leadership. “We have seen just in the past year what has happened to the children that were separated from their families, locked away in cages, and the harmful impact that prolonged detention has on children. Once again, the president is attacking the immigrant community in an effort to rouse his white supremacist base for his reelection campaign.”

Grassroots Leadership has fought against the indefinite detention of families in Texas detention centers dating back to 2006 when we held our first vigil outside of the for-profit T. Don Hutto detention center, which then held families.  Following a years-long organizing campaign, the Obama administration ended family detention at Hutto in 2009, only to open large family detention centers in Karnes City and Dilley in 2014 and 2015 respectively.

Grassroots Leadership joined detained mothers in 2015 to successfully sue the Texas Department of Family Protective Services to stop the agency from licensing the detention centers in Karnes and Dilley as childcare facilities.  Private prison corporations GEO Group and Corecivic had sought the licenses in an attempt to detain families for longer periods of time following Judge Dolly Gee’s ruling that the Flores settlement applied to family detention centers.

“The biggest beneficiaries of indefinite family detention have always been the private prison companies, and these companies stand to profit if this effort to allow indefinite detention of families prevails in court,” said Bob Libal, executive director for Grassroots Leadership.  “We cannot allow anyone to skirt the law in order to continue to profit from the suffering of children and their families.”


Maria Reza,, 512-971-0487‬