"The answer to the family detention crisis is not contracting for new detention camps, regardless of where they are or who operates them. The answer is ending the practice of locking up kids and their moms once and for all,” said Bob Libal, executive director of Grassroots Leadership, in a press statement released Tuesday. “The Obama administration has a choice—will its legacy be ending family detention or codifying the largest trend in locking up families in this country since Japanese internment." [node:read-more:link]
The Obama administration’s efforts to comply with a judge’s order over the treatment of immigrant children suffered a setback Monday when Jim Wells County commissioners rejected a proposed holding center for immigrant families.
“We don't think that there is any way that women and children can be kept in a government facility,” said Alejandro Caceres, the immigration organizer at the Austin advocacy group Grassroots Leadership. [node:read-more:link]
The Department of Homeland Security and private contractor Serco, Inc. are in talks with local authorities to create a family immigrant detention center in Southern Texas, even as state and federal authorities struggle with litigation over two similar institutions in the state.
Efforts to create another family detention center in Jim Wells County would likely spark backlash among immigrant rights groups and raises the possibility of more legal wrangling over the Obama administration’s controversial policy of locking up predominantly Central American mothers and their children, many of whom arrive here seeking asylum or other humanitarian relief. [node:read-more:link]
JIM WELLS COUNTY - The Jim Wells County officials are looking at the possibility of building a detention center that would house immigrant families awaiting asylum. The proposed facility would be located at the abandoned nursing home right outside San Diego. That is where Department of Homeland Security, Immigration and Customs Enforcement and a private company called SERCO hope to build a family immigration center. It would house anywhere from 400 to 500 mothers with their children. [node:read-more:link]
A child detained at a Serco facility in Australia said, "Even if you make this place heaven it is not enough for us because we feel like we are in a cage. We feel people see us like animals in a cage."
In 2014, the Obama administration revived the controversial practice of "family detention": incarcerating undocumented female immigrants along with their children. The families have not been convicted of any crime, but are held while they await immigration proceedings. Austin-based civil-rights organization Grassroots Leadership has been fighting back since then, calling on the government to close the for-profit "baby jails." [node:read-more:link]
A handful of immigrant rights advocates in Austin showed up outside the hotel hoping to press Clinton on detention of undocumented family members.
"She has already said that if she becomes president she would end family detention," said Bethany Carson with Grassroots Leadership. "But we are asking her to act sooner, to call on President Obama to end family detention while he is still president because these families cannot wait." [node:read-more:link]
Two private for-profit prison companies operating immigrant detention facilities in Texas reported strong financial gains to shareholders this month.
The GEO Group, which operates the immigrant detention facility in Karnes County, and Corrections Corp. of America, which runs a similar facility in Dilley, Texas, are rolling in cash.
Grassroots Leadership, an Austin-based organization that seeks to end the for-profit prison industry, reports that GEO Group told shareholders that the 626-bed expansion of the Karnes facility in December 2015 is one of a few reasons why its first quarter revenue for 2016 "increased to approximately $510 million from $427 million a year ago." [node:read-more:link]
While Clinton was here for a private meeting with Austin Democratic campaign donors, that didn’t stop members of the nonprofit Grassroots Leadership from trying to have a sit down with Clinton to discuss her promises to close the Karnes City and Dilley family immigration detention centers. Though not allowed inside, members of the group snuck in and began singing inside the hotel lobby.
Cristina Parker is the immigration program director at Grassroots Leadership.
“This is a state where family detention is a really huge issue, we have massive family detention centers that hold Central American women and children. Hillary Clinton said she is against this policy, but we are asking her to use her influence as the powerful person that she is to push the Obama administration to end this now. She said she’ll end it in November, but these women can’t wait, they are suffering. I don’t think she can ignore this issue in our state and just raise money and leave," Parker explained. [node:read-more:link]
A court hearing Friday over the licensing of immigrant detention centers in Texas is likely to delve into the unresolved question of whether children illegally crossing the southern U. S. border can be held for long periods at facilities that federal officials say are vital to prepare for another wave of immigrant families this summer.
Austin-based Grassroots Leadership wants a temporary injunction that would delay the granting of a child care facility license to the 2,400-bed South Texas Family Residential Center in Dilley. The other Texas detention center, the 500-bed facility in Karnes City, was granted a temporary license in April.
"This is part of a broader effort, both federal litigation and a lot of advocacy, calling on the administration to not make the largest trend in locking up families since Japanese internment part of its immigration legacy," said Bob Libal, Grassroots' executive director. [node:read-more:link]