AUSTIN — Earlier this month, asylum seeker Melvin Griselda Cruz Lopez was compelled by ICE officials to sign an unknown document. Read more about ICE threatens criminal charges after mom seeking asylum speaks up for her freedom and medical care
TAYLOR, Texas (KXAN) — Williamson County will officially cut its ties after Thursday with an immigrant detention center in Taylor.
The county previously had an Intergovernmental Services Agreement with Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) and private prison company CoreCivic for the T. Don Hutto Residential Center, which houses women detained at the border. In June 2018, the commissioners' court voted 4-1 to end those agreements by Jan. 31, 2019.
Grassroots Leadership, a group advocating for immigrant rights in Austin, hoped that the county's action would mean the facility would close by that date. However, it doesn't appear T. Don Hutto will shut its doors anytime soon. Read more about Williamson County agreement with ICE detention center ends Thursday
Last June, activists in suburban Williamson County, Texas, had reason to celebrate. County commissioners had voted to terminate a contract with ICE for the privately-run T. Don Hutto Detention Center, a CoreCivic-run women’s facility for asylum seekers that has long been accused of rampant abuse. While there was no guarantee that the facility would close, it felt like county officials were finally listening to local residents and former detainees, and signaling an end to detention-for-profit practices in their community.
But Hutto remains open, thanks to a quiet agreement between ICE and CoreCivic. The county, and the city of Taylor where the detention center resides, have been indifferent while detainees continue to be locked up. And activists are appalled.
“We’ve been fighting for a long time, and we thought we were finally going to shut the place down after a decade,” says Bethany Carson, immigration policy researcher and organizer with the Austin-based organization Grassroots Leadership, which has led efforts to close Hutto. A planned rally on Thursday at the Taylor City Council presents the next stage in this seemingly endless battle. Read more about Texas Activists Thought They’d Kicked ICE Out of Their County. Then a Secret Deal Happened.
An advocacy group for immigrants will hold a rally Thursday outside the Taylor City Council meeting Thursday to demand answers for why the T. Don Hutto Residential Center is still open after many reports of abuse, said one of the event’s organizers. The center is located in Taylor and holds detained immigrant women.
The Williamson County Commissioners Court ended their intergovernmental service agreement with the center at the end of January. CoreCivic owns and operates the center. U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement filed a short-term contract extension with CoreCivic for the T. Don Hutto Residential Center to remain open beyond Jan. 31, according to a statement from Adelina Pruneda, a spokeswoman for ICE, which declined further comment. Read more about Advocacy group to hold rally in Taylor against immigrant detention facility
WHAT: Rally and public testimony
WHO: Community members and formerly detained women
WHEN: Thursday, February 14th; 5:30pm
WHERE: Taylor City Council, 400 Porter Street Taylor, TX 76574
AUSTIN — Community members are demanding answers after a notorious detention center in Williamson County appears to be staying open following the end of its contract with the county. Read more about Williamson County pulled out of contract with T. Don Hutto detention center, so why are the doors still open?
AUSTIN — Saturday more than 80 community members from Austin, San Antonio, Laredo, and the Rio Grande Valley caravanned to the Laredo Processing Center for a rally to call for the freedom of detained mom, Melvin Griselda Cruz-Lopez. They called on ICE to release her immediately and protested endemic abuse at the for-profit immigration prison operated by CoreCivic, where immigrants are sent in retaliation for speaking up for their rights. Read more about Immigrant advocates from across Texas joined caravan to Laredo Saturday to demand freedom for detained mom, Griselda
WHAT: Rally & Caravan
WHO: Grassroots Leadership, Laredo Immigrant Alliance, Austin Democratic Socialists of America Immigrant Rights Committee
WHEN: Saturday, January 12 at 1:30pm
WHERE: CoreCivic Laredo Processing Center Read more about Formerly detained women, immigrant advocates join caravan to Laredo to demand freedom for detained mom, Griselda
AUSTIN — Thursday evening, ICE officials at the T. Don Hutto Detention Center in Taylor, Texas told Melvin Griselda Cruz-Lopez that there had been no appeal filed in her case and she must sign her own deportation. They stated she would go crazy spending six more months there, like the other women do, when she refused. Read more about ICE Retaliates Against Detained Mother for Fighting to be Reunited With Her Daughter
AUSTIN — Despite escalating danger to Griselda’s young child, ICE has denied multiple legal and community requests for release on humanitarian grounds. This mother remains unable to protect her while detained at the infamous for-profit T. Don Hutto immigration prison in Taylor, Texas. Read more about ICE Places Child in Danger by Refusing to Release Mom, Griselda, to Protect Her
WHAT: Testimony to County Commissioners and March
WHO: Faith leaders, community members, and advocates
WHEN: Tuesday, June 26 at 9:30 a.m. - 11 a.m.
WHERE: Williamson County Commissioners Court, 710 S Main St, Georgetown, TX 78626 Read more about Faith leaders, community to hold “Jericho March” to call on Williamson County Commissioners to shut down T. Don Hutto