child care licensing

Dec 5, 2016
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ABC News

Texas Appeals Ruling That Bans License for Detention Centers

The Texas attorney general on Monday appealed a judge's ruling that prevents state officials from issuing child care licenses to two federal detention centers in South Texas holding families that have illegally entered the U.S.

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State District Judge Karin Crump on Friday ruled the department cannot issue the licenses. Crump's ruling did not offer an explanation for her decision, but she had previously issued an injunction against the licenses from being issued, determining at one point that the state agency had improperly fast-tracked changes to create a path for the facilities to get licensed.

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The lawsuit that brought Crump's ruling was filed by Austin-based activist group Grassroots Leadership, which contends the facilities are prisons that are inappropriate for family detention and that minimum standards have been lowered to license them. The group's director, Bob Libal, said Monday that it's part of broader legal efforts to have federal officials adhere to a longtime agreement that called for children and their families to be held only for a short time before being released to family, friends or others while their cases are decided.

"Evidence is continuing to mount that not only is the detention immoral but it's also illegal," Libal said. Read more about Texas Appeals Ruling That Bans License for Detention Centers

Dec 5, 2016
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The Huffington Post

Hundreds Of Immigrant Moms And Kids Freed From Detention After Texas Court Ruling

Hundreds of women and children were released from two family detention centers over the weekend, after a Texas state judge sided with critics who say the facilities more closely resemble jails than child care centers.

The mass releases were a victory for immigrant rights advocates, who argue that it’s unnecessary and inhumane to lock up undocumented mothers and kids seeking asylum in the U.S.

The state lawsuit focused narrowly on emergency rules designed to allow the detention facilities to meet Texas’ child care licensing standards. But the state case arises out of ongoing federal litigation, which has put Immigration and Customs Enforcement on notice that these facilities are not acceptable places to house kids.

“This may not be the end of our legal battles,” said Bob Libal, executive director of Grassroots Leadership, which brought the state lawsuit. “But for now, if these facilities want to apply to operate as child care facilities, they have to do it like any other child care facility ― rather than the state designing a rule that fits prisons.”

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The Karnes and Dilley detention centers would need to make significant changes to qualify as child care facilities under previously established Texas law. One problem is that the centers hold multiple families together in a single unit, meaning children have been housed with unrelated adults ― a generally prohibited practice for child care facilities because of the risk of abuse.

Another key issue is that children’s presence at licensed child care facilities is essentially optional and they can leave. By contrast, kids can’t leave the detention centers at Karnes or Dilley unless ICE or an immigration judge releases them.

Despite the ongoing litigation, ICE extended CoreCivic’s contract to run the Dilley detention center in October.

 
Read more about Hundreds Of Immigrant Moms And Kids Freed From Detention After Texas Court Ruling
May 20, 2016
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San Antonio Current

For-profit Prison Companies in Texas Made Big Money Jailing Immigrants so Far This Year

Two private for-profit prison companies operating immigrant detention facilities in Texas reported strong financial gains to shareholders this month.

The GEO Group, which operates the immigrant detention facility in Karnes County, and Corrections Corp. of America, which runs a similar facility in Dilley, Texas, are rolling in cash.

Grassroots Leadership, an Austin-based organization that seeks to end the for-profit prison industry, reports that GEO Group told shareholders that the 626-bed expansion of the Karnes facility in December 2015 is one of a few reasons why its first quarter revenue for 2016 "increased to approximately $510 million from $427 million a year ago." Read more about For-profit Prison Companies in Texas Made Big Money Jailing Immigrants so Far This Year

May 4, 2016
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The Guardian

Lawsuit aims to stop licensing of Texas immigration detention facilities

Immigration activists are fighting back against a Texas decision to license immigration detention centres that critics call “baby jails”.

A lawsuit was launched on Tuesday in an attempt to stop the licensing, four days after the Texas department of family and protective services (DFPS) granted a childcare licence to one of two federal family holding facilities near San Antonio, with the second set to receive its permit imminently.

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Yet the DFPS pressed on and now faces a lawsuit from Grassroots Leadership, an Austin-based group opposed to private prisons, and two detained mothers. It argues that the DFPS is overstepping its authority by regulating places that are not, in reality, childcare establishments. Patrick Crimmins, a DFPS spokesman, said the agency is reviewing the suit and consulting with the state’s attorney general’s office.

“By all reasonable measures, family detention camps are prisons. They are not childcare facilities,” Bob Libal, executive director of Grassroots Leadership, said in a statement. It is not the first time the group has taken legal action on the issue: It won a temporary injunction last November to stop the state from using an emergency rule to fast-track the licensing process without public comment. Read more about Lawsuit aims to stop licensing of Texas immigration detention facilities

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