Detention and the #ShutDownHutto 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.


Related Posts

Oct 30, 2015

27 Women in For-Profit Immigrant Detention Center on Hunger Strike

In Texas, 27 women detained at a for-profit immigrant detention center say they’re on a hunger strike to demand their immediate release. Most of the women are from Central America, which has seen a surge in migrants fleeing violence and abuse. They are held at the T. Don Hutto Residential Center in Taylor, Texas, as they apply for asylum. The Immigration and Customs Enforcement agency denies there is a hunger strike. This comes as another hunger strike by 14 South Asian asylum seekers held at Louisiana’s for-profit LaSalle Detention Center enters its 12th day. [node:read-more:link]

Oct 29, 2015

Sources say 27 women on hunger strike at local immigrant detention center

Sulma Franco reads letters written by one of the 27 women who are now on a hunger strike.

All of them confined to the T. Don Hutto residential center in Taylor.

U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement detained the women for coming into the country illegally.

Now, the women who are seeking asylum in the US are demanding ICE let them go.

Sulma Franco says she knows exactly how these women feel.

She spent 4 months at the same detention center about 5 years ago after she came to the US from Guatemala.

Sulma, along with grassroots leadership are urging the public to support the women in their hunger strike. [node:read-more:link]

Oct 29, 2015
ColorLines Magazine

Why 27 Women in Hutto Immigration Detention Center Won't Eat

According to Grassroots Leadership, an Austin-based group that advocates for the end of for-profit prisons, at least 27 women at the T. Don Hutto Residential Center in Taylor, Texas, are currently on an indefinite hunger strike. The women, who have been dubbed #Hutto27 on social media, have just one demand: immediate release from immigration detention. Grassroots reports that the strike began on Wednesday evening at dinnertime.

According to a petition of support on Grassroots' website, the women are immigrants from Brazil, El Salvador, Europe, Guatemala, Honduras, Mexico and Nicaragua. They are being held in the 512-bed facility at the behest of U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE), which is run by private prison operator Corrections Corporation of America.

Grassroots' site is hosting scans of handwritten letters from 18 of the women that detail the conditions inside the center, why they came to the United States and why they want to stay here. They describe stays of more than one year, denied opportunities to post bond, inordinately high commissary prices, poor medical treatment and overall neglect. [node:read-more:link]

Oct 28, 2015
The Monitor

As many as 27 women go on hunger strike at immigrant detention center

As many as 27 women housed at the T. Don Hutto detention center are participating in a hunger strike, according to a news release from a pro-immigrant rights group.

The women, most of whom are fleeing violent and deadly circumstances back home, refused dinner Wednesday night and are demanding to be released immediately, according to the release from Texans United for Families.

A call placed to officials at the detention center went unanswered as of Wednesday evening.

TUFF, a volunteer-run organization, has been demanding the closure of the Hutto detention center, located in Taylor, outside of Austin, for more than nine years, when the facility was used as a family detention center, the release states.

While in detention, the women are expected to fight their legal cases with little to no representation from an attorney, the release said. In their letters announcing the hunger strike, made available by TUFF, the women write about the mistreatment in the detention centers and how they are suffering because of their legal cases, according to the news release.

“TUFF stands behind these women and we are here to echo their demand: to release them immediately. We also want to remind ICE and CCA officials that we are watching for retaliation and we will not stand by if they retaliate against the Hutto 27,” a TUFF official said in a prepared statement, referring to the U.S. Department of Immigration and Customs Enforcement, as well as the company that runs the detention facility. [node:read-more:link]

Oct 29, 2015
The Guardian

More than 20 women detained in Texas immigration facility begin hunger strike

More than two dozen women at an immigration detention centre in Texas began a hunger strike on Wednesday in protest at the conditions and their ongoing incarceration, a civil rights group said.

Grassroots Leadership published 17 letters from the women and said that at least 27 began their protest by refusing dinner at the T Don Hutto residential center in Taylor, near Austin.

In the letters, some of the women express fears they will be in danger if they are forced to return to Central America. Other concerns include inedible food, poor medical care, inadequate legal representation, harsh treatment from officials and a capricious process that sees some cases resolved far more quickly than others. [node:read-more:link]

Oct 29, 2015
Houston Press

Women Detained at Texas Immigration Lockup Launch Hunger Strike

Eighteen women jailed at the T Don Hutto immigrant detention center in Taylor sent letters to activists this week announcing a hunger strike inside the embattled immigration lockup, which is run by a for-profit prison company.

According to activists with Grassroots Leadership, an Austin-based nonprofit that was sent the letters this week, there could be as many as 27 women starving themselves to protest the conditions of their confinement. Most of the women are asylum seekers who fled violence in their home countries, according to Grassroots.

The women raise a number of longstanding claims against federal immigration officials, the private-prison companies they contract with to jail undocumented immigrants, and even the immigration court system in general. In their letters, the women say they've been jailed in deplorable conditions while their legal cases drag on for months. Some say they haven't received adequate medical care. (Neither federal immigration officials nor the company that runs the facility has responded to requests for comment; we'll update if and when we hear back.) [node:read-more:link]

Oct 28, 2015
The Austin Chronicle

Breaking: Hutto Detainees Begin Hunger Strike

Grassroots Leadership announced today that a group of 27 women being held at the T. Don Hutto Detention Center in Taylor, Texas, are beginning a hunger strike to protest the conditions at the facility and demand liberation.

The women, immigrants and refugees who are being held at the euphemistically named "center" – in practice, a for-profit prison – are likely to be deported. Until then, they are incarcerated in what they describe as abysmal conditions. [node:read-more:link]

Oct 29, 2015

Immigrant Women Launch Indefinite Hunger Strike, Asking To Be Freed From Detention Center

Detained women seeking asylum or other forms of humanitarian relief began an indefinite hunger strike at an immigration detention center in Texas on Wednesday night, sending hand-written letters to the federal government calling for their release.

At least 27 immigrant women refused dinner on Wednesday at the T. Don Hutto detention center, which is run by the private prison company Corrections Corporation of America. The majority of the women came to the U.S. after fleeing violence and poverty in Central America, and many have already passed their “credible fear” or “reasonable fear” interviews — a preliminary step in the asylum application process. [node:read-more:link]

Oct 23, 2015

Donald Trump Demands Super PACs Supporting Him Return Money, as Hillary Clinton Disavows Private Prison PACs

Earlier on Friday, Clinton's campaign staff confirmed to Fusion that she won't accept donations from federally registered lobbyists and PACs for private prison companies. Instead, she will donate those direct contributions to charity. It was not immediately clear which charities Clinton will choose.

"Hillary Clinton has said we must end the era of mass incarceration, and as president, she will end private prisons and private immigrant detention centers," a representative from her campaign tells Newsweek. "When we're dealing with a mass incarceration crisis, we don't need private industry incentives that may contribute—or have the appearance of contributing—to over-incarceration."

Clinton’s decision reportedly follows pressure from groups, including immigration organizations and Black Lives Matter. Sixty-two percent of immigration detention beds are located in facilities operated by private prison companies, according to a report published in April by Grassroots Leadership. [node:read-more:link]