Detention and the #EndTheQuota Campaign

On any given day, at least 34,000 people are detained in immigrant detention centers in the U.S. to meet an arbitrary lock-up quota dictated by Congress. Stopping the quota would be a giant step forward in ending our reliance on detention. Grassroots Leadership researches and exposes the role of for-profit prisons and their lobbyists in enacting the quota contributes to the growing national movement to stop immigrant detention.

 

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Humpday Hall of Shame: Judge says ICE, CCA are off the hook for sexual assaults in immigrant detention

The 5th Circuit Court is not holding Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) responsible for sexual assaults reported by eight women who were formerly detained at the T. Don Hutto Detention Center in Taylor, Texas. 

According to Courthouse News, the women filed a lawsuit against Immigration and Customs Enforcement, claiming that they were sexually assaulted while being transported by a male guard with no female guard present. According to the contract between the Corrections Corporation of America (CCA) and ICE, a female guard was to be present during transport of female detainees. The women claimed that 22 male guards had completed 77 such transports. Each plaintiff in the case had been granted asylum and was being transported out of detention at the time of assault. The man accused of these assaults, former CCA guard Donald Dunn, was sentenced to 10 months in prison in 2011. 

A three-judge panel with the 5th Circuit Court dismissed the claims against ICE, insisting that the contractual violations did not necessarily indicate that the women were in danger. Judge Emilio Garza clearly was not concerned: 

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Courtney Greene: The top 3 reasons to join TUFF in the fight against the immigrant detention quota

Guest blogger Courtney Greene is a regular volunteer with Texans United for Families (TUFF) and a regularly visits women in detention through the Hutto Visitation Program. 

Efforts continue around the country to end the immigrant detention quota. On Friday, May 9, protestors marched and rallied in Washington, D.C. to #EndTheQuota. Five were arrested including Grassroots Leadership Executive Director, Bob Libal.

Earlier in the week, pro-immigrant groups and individuals from across the U.S. called and emailed their congressional representatives to demand the immigrant detention quota be stopped. 

The quota requires the Department of Homeland Security and Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) to fill 34,000 beds in immigrant detention centers each day. The quota is unjust, inhumane and primarily benefits the for-profit companies that run the detention centers.  In TUFF’s view, here are the top 3 reasons to advocate for the immediate end of the immigrant detention quota:  

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Part 2 of KSAT-San Antonio exposé follows the private prison money trail

On Friday, KSAT – San Antonio ran Corportations profit from immigration system, part two of reporter Steve Spriester’s Defender’s Investigation into the shady practices of private prison corporations. Spriester’s exposé – which featured Grassroots Leadership Executive Director Bob Libal – revealed the way in which private prison corporations strategically pour money into campaign contribution and lobbying efforts that will produce benefits for their bottom line by ensuring a large and steady flow of detainees.

As Spreister put it, “A stalemate on immigration reform in this country is very good for their business.”

Added Libal, "They're banking on there being a steady and increasing number of immigrants behind bars."

 

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Humpday Hall of Shame: ICE Retaliates against Hunger Strikers

Just when we thought Immigration and Customs Enforcement couldn't stoop any lower, they pulled another sick stunt. 

Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) officials are retaliating against men on hunger strike at the Joe Corley Detention Center in Conroe, Texas. Men detained at the facility have been on hunger strike since March 18, demanding better medical care, commissary prices, and a stop to deportations. One hundred and twenty men are said to be on hunger strike at the facility as of 

March 20, following in the footsteps of strikers at the Northwest Detention Center in Tacoma, WA. Rep. Adam Smith (D-9) was also appalled by the conditions within the Tacoma facility. Both facilities are owned by the GEO Group, a private prison corporation based in Boca Raton, Florida.  

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Second Detainee Strike Shedding Light on Private Detention Abuses

Conroe, TX - Today marks the second day of a hunger strike initiated by immigrant detainees at the Joe Corley Detention Facility run by for-profit private prison company, GEO Group. This strike, part of a larger effort to end deportations, was inspired by one that began March 7th in Tacoma, Washington at a facility that is also run by GEO Group.

An attorney that confirmed the strike during a visit to Joe Corley yesterday morning was able to communicate the following demands from the strikers:

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#TBT: Looking back at the ties between ICE and for-profit prisons

Does the name David Venturella ring a bell?

You may remember him as the Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) official who pushed the deportation quota. Or you may remember him as the Executive Vice President for Corporate Development at GEO Group. 

The disturbing fact is that he is both.

For this Throwback Thursday (#TBT), we want to take you back to a post from February 15 of last year when Bob covered Venturella's offensive career trajectory. 

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Humpday Hall of Shame: Hunger Strike in Tacoma Leads Directly Back to GEO and the Detention Bed Quota

Today marks the sixth day of a hunger strike initiated by hundreds of immigrant detainees at a Tacoma, Washington detention facility run by for-profit private prison company GEO Group. A press release from Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) indicated that 750 of the center’s 1,300 detainees had refused meals on Friday, the first day of the strike. However, advocates for the strikers say this number was likely closer to 1,200. 
 
The detainees assert that the purpose of the strike is to demand better conditions at the facility and an end to U.S. deportations as well as better food, increased pay for their work inside the facility, and better over-all treatment by the guards. Many of the strikers are also part of a work stoppage.
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