GEORGETOWN, TX — The Williamson County Commissioners Court today voted 4-1 to end the intergovernmental service agreement with the T. Don Hutto detention center in Taylor, Texas. The move follows months of public pressure from formerly detained women, advocates, members of the faith community and Williamson County residents in the Shut Down Hutto Coalition who have called for the closure of the for-profit prison.
Before the vote, hundreds joined a Jericho March to reunite families and shut down Hutto. Marchers call for an end to the systems upholding the Hutto Detention Center and the Trump administration’s cruel zero-tolerance policies that criminalize and lock up families seeking safety.
“This is an important step forward in the fight for justice at Hutto and a victory for all who have raised their voices. We thank all the members of the Shut Down Hutto coalition for their work to make this happen,” said Bethany Carson, immigration organizer and researcher at Grassroots Leadership. “However, there is still much to do. We must first fight to ensure that every woman at Hutto, including all of the moms who have had their kids taken from them, are released from the facility immediately.”
The decision does not immediately close the facility, but rather gives Immigration and Customs Enforcement until January to renegotiate a possible agreement. At least 35 mothers who have had their kids taken from them at the border are being held the facility, and some are at imminent risk of deportation.
One detained mom sent a letter from inside the Hutto detention center over the weekend that details what it is like for a mother separated from her children and detained by ICE. The full text of that letter is available here.
Grassroots Leadership has launched the Hutto Deportation Defense and Bond Fund to provide support for women detained at the facility. On July 8th, hundreds of Episcopalians from across the country will gather at the Hutto detention center for a prayer service.
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Grassroots Leadership is an Austin, Texas-based national organization that works for a more just society where prison profiteering, mass incarceration, deportation, and criminalization are things of the past. Follow us @Grassroots_News.
Cristina Parker, email@example.com, 512-499-8111