immigrant family detention

Jul 3, 2015
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The Austin Chronicle

The End of Family Detention?

"Immigrant advocates applauded changes to the Obama administration's family detention policy unveiled last week that has the lowering of bonds as the cornerstone of the revamping. Categorizing the change as a first step toward reform, activists continue to call to an end to the practice of holding immigrant families.

...

Bob Libal, executive director of Grass­roots Leadership, also is calling for an end to the program. In May, his members joined more than 600 protesters – including a caravan of parishioners from Austin-based St. Andrew's Presbyterian Church – gathered outside the recently opened South Texas Family Residential Center in Dilley, Texas, calling for its closure. 'I think there is some positive movement of Johnson's announcement,' he said. "They are feeling the impact of what has been unanimous outrage over the decision to incarcerate kids and moms. But I don't think it goes far enough."

Libal points out the built-in incentive to keep families detained, given the for-profit nature of the detention camps – operated by publicly held companies that bill the government $300 a day to detain each immigrant. 'There is no way to humanely detain a kid in one of these detention camps,' he adds." [node:read-more:link]

VIDEO: Survivor of Japanese incarceration during WWII takes us from Crystal City to Dilley

Dr. Satsuki Ina, a psychotherapist and professor emeritus at California State University — Sacramento was born in an incarceration camp in California, before moving with her mother to a camp in Crystal City, Texas. An advocate against family detention, Dr. Ina returned to Texas for a rally on May 2nd rally in Dilley, Texas. In this powerful video by Matthew Gossage, Dr. Ina visits Crystal City for the first time since childhood and talks about why detaining families is wrong.

A statement released by the Japanese American Citizens League (JACL) earlier this month condemned the U.S. Government’s practice of detaining asylum-seeking families

May 20, 2015
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Fort Worth Weekly

Asylum Seekers Detained

"...The newest ICE facility, the South Texas Family Residential Center, near Dilley, will house 2,400 mothers and children when completed. It will be run by Corrections Corporation of America, the largest private prison operator in the United States. The CCA will receive $276 per day per person from the federal government to run Dilley, a staggering $241 million per year. The CCA ran the T. Don Hutto facility when ICE was sued over conditions there.

While exact figures were not available for the smaller, GEO Group-run Karnes County Residential Facility, which houses 592 women and children, the cost per day per bed is probably similar to what CCA is getting for Dilley.

'I visited the Karnes facility last September,' said Bob Libal, executive director of Grassroots Leadership, an organization working to end the private prison industry. 'And, yes, there are paintings on the walls, and there’s a small soccer field for the kids, but the reality is that prolonged detention is always detrimental to kids and their moms. And at Karnes, some of the women have been held for as long as nine months.'

Libal noted that those families seeking refugee status are not generally considered flight risks and are normally 'given a notice to appear at a detention court and told to check in with an ICE worker and let go,' frequently to sponsors or family members already living in the United States. When they appear for their hearing, the mothers are interviewed about why they are seeking asylum. If they pass that 'credible fear' interview, their request for asylum moves on through the system. If they do not pass the interview, they are scheduled for deportation...

...Christina [sic] Parker, the immigrations program director for Grassroots Leadership, helped organize a protest at Dilley on May 2, which was attended by more than 600 people. 'When you look at the Dilley facility, it doesn’t look like a prison,' she said. 'There are rows of little trailers set up, sort of like a camp. But there are still armed guards, and the kids are still locked up. And they shouldn’t be.'

Parker pointed to a decision in a lawsuit brought against the Immigration and Naturalization Service, the precursor to ICE, in 1987 by the ACLU over the detention of illegal immigrant children. The 1997 determination, known as the Flores Settlement Agreement, required that juveniles 'be held in the least restrictive setting appropriate to their age and special needs, generally, in a non-secure facility licensed to care for dependent, as opposed to delinquent, minors.'

Parker said that the suit had been revived in light of the recent expansion of family detention. 'There’s a decision expected in a week,' she said. 'The law says children cannot be held in secure, prison-like facilities. They must be held in licensed child-care facilities.'" [node:read-more:link]

May 15, 2015
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The Monitor

Editorial: More immigration judges will help courts, country

"The privately-run detention facility, operated by Corrections Corporation of America, is paid $275 per day per detainee, said Bob Libal, executive director of Grassroots Leadership in Austin. 'At full build out it will bring $660,000 per day or $240 million in annual revenue from this one detention camp,' Libal said.

That’s all paid for with American taxpayer funds and is a prime example of why detainees need to be processed and adjudicated quickly through our courts.

As Cuellar told us: 'Right now the backlog is just tremendous so this will allow us to have hearings before the judges on a much faster pace so we can get rid of the backlog. Whatever the judge’s decide — whether they can stay or return — at least they get a day before a judge.'" [node:read-more:link]

May 2, 2015
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my San Antonio

Hundreds protest Obama's immigration policy in South Texas

Hundreds of people began arriving in Dilley on Saturday to protest the Obama administration's policy of detaining immigrant families.

Buses from throughout Texas gradually delivered protestors to this community 75 miles south of San Antonio, where the American government in recent months opened a large camp to hold immigrant women and their children as they navigate the immigration processing system.

More than 500 protestors were to march from a park in downtown Dilley 2 miles to the Dilley Family Residential Center, a detention center operated for the Homeland Security Department and which can hold up to 2000 people. [node:read-more:link]

Apr 20, 2015
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Texas Observer

ICE Director to U.S. Rep. Culberson: We Can’t Just Put People in Detention for ‘the Heck of it’

"A new study by the nonprofit Grassroots Leadership finds that the private prison industry has increased its share of immigrant detention beds by 13 percent since the 2009 quota was passed. For-profit corporations now operate sixty-two percent of ICE immigration detention beds.

At one point during the U.S. House Appropriations Committee hearing last week, Saldaña tries to explain to the tea-partier Culberson that she can’t put people in detention 'just for the heck of it.'"

Apr 16, 2015
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Common Dreams

'Profiting From Misery': Private Prison Corporations Driving Harsh Immigration Policies

"Private prison companies are spending millions of dollars to lobby the U.S. government for harsher immigration laws that, in turn, spike corporate profits by driving up incarceration levels, a new report from the national social justice organization Grassroots Leadership reveals.

Entitled Payoff: How Congress Ensures Private Prison Profit with an Immigrant Detention Quota, the report's release on Wednesday coincided with a renewed hunger strike at a privately-run immigrant detention center in southern Texas, where asylum-seeking mothers incarcerated with their children report inhumane conditions, including sexual assaults by prison guards and staff." [node:read-more:link]

Apr 19, 2015
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RawStory

Asylum-seeking mothers launch hunger strike over inhumane conditions at Texas detention center

"According to a new report from the Grassroots Leadership, private for-profit prison corporations spent $11 million over six years to lobby Congress to keep a mandatory immigrant detention quota.

Today, 9 out of the 10 largest immigrant detention centers are private, with 8 owned by only two corporations, the GED Group and CCA. Since the end of 2007, the GEO Group has increased their profits by 244% and CCA by 46%." [node:read-more:link]

Apr 16, 2015
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Think Progress

Millions Spent Lobbying By Private Prison Corporations To Keep A Quota Of Arrested Immigrants, Report Says

"Private prison corporations spent $11 million over six years to lobby Congress to keep immigrants in detention centers, a new report released Wednesday found. The Grassroots Leadership report, Payoff: How Congress Ensures Private Prison Profit with an Immigrant Detention Quota, found that lobbying efforts of the two largest private prison corporations have made them the main beneficiaries of aggressive immigration detention policies. For-profit family detention centers have come under scrutiny in recent times as migrant women renewed a hunger strike this week in Texas, demanding that they be released on bond with their children." [node:read-more:link]

Apr 16, 2015
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The Dallas Observer

Arresting Illegal Immigrants in Texas Is Making Private Prisons Companies Rich

"No detention center has bigger plans for illegal immigrants than the South Texas Family Center in Dilley. The center is run by the for-profit Corrections Corporation of America and is under expansion. By May 2015, the facility will be able to hold 2,400 people. 'If this expansion proceeds, Dilley will be the largest immigrant detention center in the U.S.,' says a new report about the troubling role that private prison companies play in U.S. immigration policy. The report was published by Grassroots Leadership, an advocacy group that is critical of the industry.

Using government and financial records and news articles, the Grassroots report details how two companies -- Corrections Corporation of America and GEO Group -- have benefited from locking up illegal immigrants, and how the South Texas border surge in arrests has been especially profitable to the CCA and GEO Group. Texas has 7,602 private beds for the immigrant detainees, Grassroots Leadership found, a figure that represents 39 percent of all private prison beds in the whole country." [node:read-more:link]

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