Moms Describe Anguish in Letters From Inside the Hutto Detention Facility

July 13, 2018
Austin Chronicle

From the inside of T. Don Hutto deten­tion facility in Taylor, nearly two dozen women are pleading to be reunited with their children in letters that describe the pain, helplessness, and trauma they and their children are feeling. The facility northeast of Austin houses at least 35 asylum-seeking women who were subjected to the family separation policy. In letters compiled by advocacy group Grassroots Leadershipand translated from Spanish, several women say officials lied to them about when they would see their children again, a maneuver to usher them to detention centers. Several women describe poor conditions at various facilities in Texas as they were being shuffled around: One says a guard threatened her with an "electric shock" and another, who is HIV-positive, says the facility withheld medicine from her.

At Hutto, eight of the 35 asylum-seeking women have been released on bond, but only one has been reunited with her children, as of press time. "Other women are still very upset. I think seeing a few women released is giving a little bit of hope, but it's mostly a feeling of desperation," says Cristina Parker of Grassroots Leadership.