family detention

Court rules family detention illegal!

On Friday night, Judge Dolly Gee released the long-awaited decision in the case against family detention. She ruled that the Administration’s family detention policy violates the terms of the Flores settlement, which lays out minimum conditions for children held in federal immigration custody. Watch a quick video here by AILA attorneys with the main points of the decision and what happens next.

In the decision, Judge Gee excoriates the government's reasoning for maintaining family detention in phrases that display the same outrage felt by immigrant advocates. "It is astonishing that Defendants [ICE] have enacted a policy requiring such expensive infrastructure without more evidence to show that it would be compliant with an Agreement that has been in effect for nearly 20 years or effective at achieving what Defendants hoped it would accomplish," Gee wrote.

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Texas advocates and attorneys applaud court’s decision on family detention

(AUSTIN, Texas) — Texas advocates and attorneys applaud Judge Dolly Gee’s decision, released Friday night, that the Administration’s family detention policy violates the terms of the Flores settlement, which lays out minimum conditions for children held in federal immigration custody. The advocates urge the Administration not to appeal this decision and to immediately close all three family detention camps. Read more about Texas advocates and attorneys applaud court’s decision on family detention

Finally, ICE relents and some women and children are released from long-term family detention

(AUSTIN, Texas) — Bowing to intense pressure, immigration officials announced Monday that they will release some detained families who have been found to have credible fear of returning to their home countries. “ICE has finally begun to take concrete action in response to public outcry against the detention of refugee families,” said Bob Libal, Executive Director of Grassroots Leadership. Read more about Finally, ICE relents and some women and children are released from long-term family detention

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 1, 2015
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The Monitor

Letter to the Editor: Ankle monitoring is an alternative form of detention, not an alternative to detention

A letter to the editor from Bethany Carson, immigration policy analyst and organizer says, "the Monitor’s June 28 editorial on family detention centers cited ankle monitoring as a key alternative to long-term family detention. While the inhumane warehousing of asylum seekers in secure, for-profit facilities must come to an end, ankle monitoring is an alternative form of detention — not an alternative to detention...

Ankle monitors are particularly inappropriate to use with certain groups, as illuminated after they were placed on 400 Garífuna women in New York. An international advocacy group working with the women stated that this electronic shackling caused them to recall their historic trauma of enslavement by colonizers in Honduras.

Electronic monitoring also carries a profit incentive for the same corporation that runs the family detention camp at Karnes City: GEO Group Inc. BI Inc., which contracts with Immigration and Customs Enforcement to provide electronic monitoring, was acquired by GEO Group in 2011 — a corporation which has spent enormous sums on political contributions and lobbying on immigration issues." Read more about Letter to the Editor: Ankle monitoring is an alternative form of detention, not an alternative to detention

Jul 6, 2015
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Latinos Health

Hepatitis A Vaccine in Adult Dose Given to Children in Detention Center

 

"Fox News reports that according to the US Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE), around 250 immigrant children detained in a facility in Dilley, Texas have been given the adult dosage of hepatitis A vaccines earlier this week. Spokesperson Richard Rocha says the children's parents have already been advised and counseled about potential side effects, although none of the children have shown any adverse risks yet.

...

The Texas facility, constructed in 2014, is one of the three detention facilities that holds illegal immigrants. Activists called for the closure of the centers due to substandard services. Bethany Carson, immigration policy researcher and organizer of Grassroots Leadership, said these facilities lock up immigrants, causing lasting mental trauma and distress to people." Read more about Hepatitis A Vaccine in Adult Dose Given to Children in Detention Center

Jul 3, 2015
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The Austin Chronicle

The End of Family Detention?

"Immigrant advocates applauded changes to the Obama administration's family detention policy unveiled last week that has the lowering of bonds as the cornerstone of the revamping. Categorizing the change as a first step toward reform, activists continue to call to an end to the practice of holding immigrant families.

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Bob Libal, executive director of Grass­roots Leadership, also is calling for an end to the program. In May, his members joined more than 600 protesters – including a caravan of parishioners from Austin-based St. Andrew's Presbyterian Church – gathered outside the recently opened South Texas Family Residential Center in Dilley, Texas, calling for its closure. 'I think there is some positive movement of Johnson's announcement,' he said. "They are feeling the impact of what has been unanimous outrage over the decision to incarcerate kids and moms. But I don't think it goes far enough."

Libal points out the built-in incentive to keep families detained, given the for-profit nature of the detention camps – operated by publicly held companies that bill the government $300 a day to detain each immigrant. 'There is no way to humanely detain a kid in one of these detention camps,' he adds." Read more about The End of Family Detention?

Elected officials join advocates' call to end, not mend family detention

Drawing by 8-year-old in family detention given to Rep. Roybal-Allard on recent Congressional tour

Last week, Secretary of Homeland Security Jeh Johnson issued a press release announcing a number of modifications to family detention. The announcement claims that the agency will do away with long-term detention in most cases and set “reasonable” bonds for families that pass credible fear examinations. Our take on this is expressed perfectly by our executive director, Bob Libal in Grassroots Leadership’s statement: “It is impossible to make family detention reasonable or humane. Mass family detention is an extremely recent development and is emblematic of our society’s rush to use incarceration as the solution to any difficult issue. The Administration ended mass family detention once in 2009, and they can and should end it again today.”

 

An outpouring of legislators, advocacy organizations, and faith groups also released statements that these changes are not sufficient, and that the only solution is to end the inhumane detention of asylum seeking mothers and children altogether. Read more about Elected officials join advocates' call to end, not mend family detention

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