karnes county family detention center

May 31, 2017
/
The Associated Press

Texas immigration lockdowns holding some families too long

 Afghan asylum seeker Samira Hakimi and her family members — three of them young children — have spent six months inside a Texas immigration lockdown, even though state lawmakers adjourned this week without passing legislation to circumvent federal rules on housing minors at such facilities.

The proposals that died in the legislative session would have licensed the immigrant detention facilities as childcare providers to avoid a requirement stipulating minors can be held no longer than 20 days.

Immigrant welfare advocates celebrated the failure of the bills, which they said would have caused further physical and psychological harm to children. Still, the federal government continues to hold some families long past the allotted time.

“The failure of the bill as good of news as that is doesn’t seem to have done these families any good,” said Cristina Parker, immigration programs coordinator for the Austin-based nonprofit Grassroots Leadership.

...

Denise Gilman, director of the University of Texas immigration law clinic, said the prolonged detentions are a clear violation of the law.

One bill, conceived by lobbyists for the for-profit prison company GEO Group, would have allowed the state’s health department to waive minimum childcare licensing standards for GEO’s 832-bed facility and a 2,400-bed one operated by another private prison company.

...

But fellow Republican state Rep. Byron Cook, who heads the powerful Texas House State Affairs Committee, declined to hold a vote on the proposal because he said “there was a lot of anguish” about it. Pediatricians and child welfare advocates were among dozens of people in a hearing to decry the bill, claiming it indeed served to prolong detention, harming children physically and psychologically.

“This affirms the fact that the state does not have the ability to license the facilities at all,” Parker said.

The U.S. government began the long-term detention of families in 2014, responding to an influx of women and children seeking asylum from record gang violence in Central America — but by the following year a federal judge ruled against holding kids in locked facilities unlicensed as childcare providers beyond 20 days. Then Texas attempted to license the facilities, but a state judge ruled they weren’t fit to be licensed.

...

Fischer, Parker and Gilman all said that at this point, even 20-day stays violated the law — because the 2015 court ruling ordered that except in times of immigration surges, three days is the maximum allowed detention for children. Currently, border crossers are at a low.

A spokesman for U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement would not comment on the prolonged detention of the Hakimis or other families, but said that “ICE makes determinations on a case-by-case basis considering all the merits and factors of each case while adhering to current guidelines and legal mandates.” Read more about Texas immigration lockdowns holding some families too long

Dec 20, 2016
/
AlterNet

Mothers Incarcerated With Their Children in Obama's Disgraceful Family Prisons Want Freedom for the Holidays

“We are desperate because this will be the second Christmas that our children have to spend here,” 17 mothers incarcerated at the Berks County Family Detention Center wrote in a recent joint letter to state authorities,publicized by the advocacy organization Grassroots Leadership. “This is in addition to all the other special dates—such as the birthdays of our children and our own, Mother’s Day, Father’s Day, etc.—that we have had to spend in this jail… We ask you, 17 desperate mothers, to give the biggest gift to our children of being able to spend Christmas among family.”

Nearly 500 mothers and children are locked up in Berks, one of three remaining “family detention centers” in the United States. In 2014, the Obama administration responded to the crisis of violent displacement from Central American countries by incarcerating mothers with their children in facilities that human rights observers say amount to prisons.

...

With Donald Trump slated to take the White House in a month, advocates say now is a vital time for the Obama administration to shut down the facilities and disavow their legacy. While it is difficult to predict what policies the incoming administration will unleash, the president-elect has threatened mass deportations targeting 11 million undocumented people in the United States, including up to three million forced evictions in the first 100 days.

...

“Instead of handing the keys to these prisons to Donald Trump, Obama can instead end this now," said Cristina Parker, immigration programs director at Grassroots Leadership. “Family detention is a national disgrace, and a blemish on Obama’s already-terrible record on deportations." Read more about Mothers Incarcerated With Their Children in Obama's Disgraceful Family Prisons Want Freedom for the Holidays

Apr 14, 2015
/
Houston Chronicle

Hunger strike by undocumented women at Texas detention facility

"...According to Abdollahi and Cristina Parker, a coordinator with Austin-based Grassroots Leadership, this is the second hunger strike at the Karnes facility because a group of almost 80 women started one in the week that started on Monday March 30th that lasted almost one week.

However, ICE denied in a statement there was a hunger strike at the detention center and said that allegation is 'false.'" Read more about Hunger strike by undocumented women at Texas detention facility

Apr 10, 2015
/
Southern Studies

Immigrant mothers held in private detention facility in Texas threaten to renew hunger strike

"Individual women have shared their experiences at Karnes in letters posted to the website of the End Family Detention advocacy network. One woman who has been held there since the facility was converted into a family detention center last August wrote that her daughter wasn't eating and was losing weight. She was also worried about unsuitable drinking water at the center, which is located in an area where thousands of oil and gas wells have been drilled, but didn't have enough money to buy water from the store. Colorlines reported that the women are paid $3 a day to work at the facility -- the price of a single bottle of water.

Immigrations and Customs Enforcement (ICE) spokespeople have denied being aware of a hunger strike at the center. However, advocates in contact with the detainees reported that the women experienced retaliation from guards and ICE officials in response to the protest. Three women and their children were even locked in an unlit room in the medical infirmary on the first day of the strike. Mothers were also threatened with separation from their children and with deportations. Such threats are routinely made in the facility in response to issues like children's misbehavior but increased during the strike, according to Cristina Parker withGrassroots Leadership, a nonprofit that advocates for the abolition of private prisons." Read more about Immigrant mothers held in private detention facility in Texas threaten to renew hunger strike

Jan 22, 2015
/
Reason

No Asylum: Immigrants Locked Up in U.S. after Fleeing Violence

 

"Headlines screamed of a "border crisis" as unaccompanied minors began arriving in record numbers in the summer of 2014, sparking protests in border towns like Murrieta, CA from citizens who wanted the newly arrived immigrants sent back to where they came from. The administration's response was to request $879 million from Congress to detain and deport. Congress denied the funds, but Homeland Security forged ahead with the construction of several new "family detention centers" anyway. The number of beds grew from fewer than 100 to more than 1,000 in less than a year. And a newly constructed center in Dilley, TX will have a capacity of more than 2,000.

Watch the Reason TV piece for a glimpse at who exactly is being held in these detention centers at record rates." Read more about No Asylum: Immigrants Locked Up in U.S. after Fleeing Violence

Dec 18, 2014
/
WBAI 99.5 FM

Advocates discuss new family detention center in Dilley, Texas

Grassroots Leadership's Cristina Parker tells WBAI host Donald Anthonyson about the new privately-run family detention center in Dilley, Texas and abuses coming out of the Karnes County Residential Center, a GEO-run detention center that began detaining families this summer. Christina Fialho and Christina Mansfield of CIVIC talk about their work establishing immigrant vistitation programs, the injustices of the legal system immigrants must navigate, and influences of private prison lobbying on mass immigrant detention. Interview begins at minute 13:00. Read more about Advocates discuss new family detention center in Dilley, Texas

Sep 3, 2014
/
Houston Chronicle

Feds release 7-year-old immigrant girl with cancer for treatment

After weeks of delay and an uproar from immigrant advocates, federal authorities agreed Wednesday to release a 7-year-old Salvadoran girl with cancer, and her mother, from a detention center in Karnes City so the child can get treatment.

When Nayely Bermudez Beltran and her mother, Sara Beltran Rodriguez, fled violence in El Salvador and in July came to the United States, they immediately told Customs and Border Protection officers that the girl needed medical attention for a brain tumor, Beltran said Wednesday.

The violence was so severe - and threats constant to Beltran and her daughter - that they had to scrap plans for additional treatment for Nayely in their home country, Beltran told the Express-News shortly after their release.

But mother and daughter were later transferred to the Karnes County Residential Center, without any treatment despite the facility having medical staff and equipment and the mother making repeated requests.

Although Nayely was offered a place to stay with friends who have legal status in the United States, immigration authorities initially declined to release the girl and her mother or set bail, according to advocacy group Grassroots Leadership, which helped publicize their case. Meanwhile, Nayely was visibly ill and regularly wetting the bed due to her condition, her mother said.

"We were waiting for a month, and no one would do anything," Beltran said. "I felt anguished. I would pray to God to send me someone for help. He listened to my prayers." Read more about Feds release 7-year-old immigrant girl with cancer for treatment

Sep 5, 2014
/
La Voz de Houston

Inmigración libera a niña salvadoreña para que reciba tratamiento de cáncer

Después de semanas de retraso y gran alboroto por parte de defensores de los inmigrantes, autoridades federales acordaron poner en libertad a una niña salvadoreña de siete años que padece cáncer y a su madre para que la pequeña reciba tratamiento.

Cuando Nayely Bermúdez Beltrán y su madre, Sara Beltrán Rodríguez, huyeron de la violencia imperante en El Salvador y vinieron en julio a Estados Unidos, dijeron de inmediato a oficiales del Servicio de Aduanas y Protección Fronteriza que la niña necesitaba atención médica debido a un tumor cerebral, según dijo Beltrán el miércoles.

La violencia en su país de origen es tan intensa, así como las amenazas a Beltrán y a su hija, que tuvieron que posponer los planes para que Nayely recibiera tratamiento adicional en su patria, según dijo Beltrán al San Antonio Express-News después de ser puestas en libertad en la noche del miércoles.

De la zona fronteriza, madre e hija fueron transferidas al Centro Residencial del Condado de Karnes sin que la niña hubiese recibido ningún tratamiento a pesar de que en el lugar de detención hay personal médico y equipos especiales, y la madre formuló sus peticiones en varias ocasiones.

Aunque a Nayely le ofrecieron quedarse en casa de unos amigos que están legalmente en Estados Unidos, autoridades de inmigración se negaron en un inicio a poner a la niña y a su madre en libertad o fijar una fianza para ambas, según el grupo de activistas Grassroots Leadership, que ayudó a dar a conocer este caso. Read more about Inmigración libera a niña salvadoreña para que reciba tratamiento de cáncer

Sep 4, 2014
/
Daily Mail

Seven-year-old Salvadoran girl with brain tumor is released from immigrant detention center so that she can get treatment after uproar

A seven-year-old Salvadoran cancer sufferer has finally been released from an immigrant detention center in Texas so that she can get treatment for her brain tumor after weeks of delays.

Following uproar from advocacy groups, Nayely Bermudez Beltran and her mother, Sara Beltran Rodriguez, were allowed to leave the Karnes County Residential Center on Wednesday night so that the little girl can undergo treatment next week.

The duo fled violence in El Salvador in July and when they entered the U.S., Beltran immediately told border patrol officers that the girl needed medical attention, the Houston Chronicle reported.

But they were transferred to the center in Karnes County without Nayely undergoing any treatment - and even though they had a place to stay, authorities would not release them or set bail,Grassroots Leadership explained.

...

One of the doctors, neurologist Dr. Simon Carlson, urged ICE to release the girl, saying that her health could 'take a turn for the worse with little to no forewarning, with devastating outcomes'.

'Urgent care is needed for this child, and she is likely to suffer long term brain damage or worse if left to routine care without urgent specialist intervention,' he said.  

On Wednesday, the agency finally released the pair and they went to a shelter in Austin, according to Texans United for Families, which helped fight for their release.

Photographs taken outside the shelter show the mother and daughter grinning with their lawyer.

'Nayely and Sara just walked out of the Karnes family detention center,' the caption read. 'They are on their way to a warm and welcoming place in Austin and Nayely is going to see a doctor on Tuesday.' Read more about Seven-year-old Salvadoran girl with brain tumor is released from immigrant detention center so that she can get treatment after uproar

Subscribe to RSS - karnes county family detention center