immigrant family detention

Apr 17, 2015
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Austin Chronicle

Detainees Strike for Freedom

"Advocates have trained their sights on a similar, newly opened facility in Dilley – 150 miles south, a two-and-a-half-hour drive from Austin. By next month, U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforce­ment will have capacity to hold up to 2,400 at what will be the nation's largest immigrant detention center. Opened in late December, Dilley is operated by Corrections Corporation of America, while the Karnes site is run by the Geo Group Inc., both for-profit companies contracted by government agencies. Some opponents question the logic of spending money to incarcerate immigrants rather than helping them integrate into the community; according to Reuters, the cost to run the Dilley site is $296 per person per day.

'It's incredibly profitable for these corporations,'said Bob Libal, executive director of Grassroots Leadership. 'I'd argue these are the only people these facilities are good for. It's very detrimental to the well-being and health of the kids and moms detained and enormously expensive for taxpayers to be footing the bill of about $300 a day to detain those individuals.' Locally, Grass­roots Leadership and St. Andrew's Pres­by­terian Church will each charter two buses to take protesters to Dilley on May 2, calling for closure of such facilities. They'll be met by other buses from San Antonio, the Valley, Houston, and elsewhere." [node:read-more:link]

Apr 14, 2015
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Huffington Post

Mothers Launch A Second Hunger Strike At Karnes City Family Detention Center

"...Some activists view the private prison industry as partly responsible for the growth of family immigrant detention. The country’s largest private prison company, the Corrections Corporation of America, operates the newly constructed, 2,400-bed family detention center in Dilley, Texas. The second-largest private prison company, GEO Group, runs the 500-bed facility at Karnes City.

Christina Parker [sic], the immigrant programs director at the Austin, Texas-based nonprofit Grassroots Leadership, said Tuesday that letting private companies run detention centers only creates an incentive to lock up more migrants.

'Every bed and every crib represents more profits for them,' Parker said." [node:read-more:link]

Apr 14, 2015
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Houston Chronicle

Hunger strike by undocumented women at Texas detention facility

"...According to Abdollahi and Cristina Parker, a coordinator with Austin-based Grassroots Leadership, this is the second hunger strike at the Karnes facility because a group of almost 80 women started one in the week that started on Monday March 30th that lasted almost one week.

However, ICE denied in a statement there was a hunger strike at the detention center and said that allegation is 'false.'" [node:read-more:link]

Apr 14, 2015
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DemocracyNow!

Immigrant Mothers in Detention Launch Second Hunger Strike Despite Retaliation

"...Our report noted nearby Crystal City, Texas, was home to a federal internment camp for Japanese and German men, as well as their wives and children, and a local newspaper has referred to the South Texas Family Residential Center as an internment camp despite objections by Corrections Corporation of America, the private prison company that operates it.

Advocates say the comparison of that facility to present day family detention centers in Texas could haunt President Obama.

'He could go down in history not just as the deporter in chief," said Cristina Parker, with the group Grassroots Leadership, "but as the president who presided over the return of modern day internment camps on U.S. soil.'" [node:read-more:link]

Apr 2, 2015
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Common Dreams

Dozens of Mothers Stage Hunger Strike at Immigrant Detention Center in Texas

"ICE also claimed it was unaware of any residents actually participating in the strike, saying in a statement on Wednesday that the agency "fully respects the rights of all people to voice their opinion without interference, and all detainees, including those in family residential facilities such as Karnes, are permitted to do so."

It also said it was investigating claims that members of a nonprofit advocacy group encouraged the women to take part in the hunger strike—a charge which activists deny.

Cristina Parker, immigration programs director at the Texas-based immigrant rights group Grassroots Leadership, told the Guardian on Tuesday, 'This is something that has been rippling through the centre almost since it opened. I don’t believe at all that they were coached into doing this.'

According to Parker, the center is now blocking access to internet and telephone facilities for all of its detainees, regardless of whether they are participating in the hunger strike." [node:read-more:link]

While mothers and children languish in detention, private prison companies reveal million dollar compensations for top executives

Private prison companies GEO Group and Corrections Corporation of America (CCA) recently released proxy materials revealing million dollar compensations for their top executives. Both documents included charts that reflected salary figures, stock awards, option awards, among various other means of monetary compensation. [node:read-more:link]

Feb 28, 2015
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truthout

Private Prison Companies Foresee Increased Profits as Ruling Limits Immigrant Detentions

"'The ACLU ruling is a terrific first step, but it doesn't necessarily mean that the government can't detain families for other reasons. They just can't use [deterrence] justifications,' said Bob Libal, executive director of the Austin-based Grassroots Leadership, which works to end for-profit incarceration.

Representatives from Grassroots Leadership pointed out that the Obama administration can continue to incarcerate asylum-seeking families from Central American countries by suggesting the families are a threat to national security.

'What we've said is that what the [Obama] administration should do is immediately cancel the expansion plans of the Karnes facility and the Dilley facility ... in the wake of this ruling,' Libal said. 'It makes no sense, when the court has undermined the basic tenets of the mass family detention policy, for the administration to be continuing to funnel money into the expansion plans for these two facilities.'

Texans United for Families (TUFF) is also joining Grassroots Leadership in calling for the Obama administration to close the immigrant-family jails at Karnes and Dilley and to prioritize release of undocumented families by focusing on community-based alternatives to incarceration. 'The court spoke clearly last week,' said TUFF's Peggy Morton in a press release. 'There is only one right move left for the administration: To free the families.'" [node:read-more:link]

Oct 28, 2014
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National Public Radio

How will a small town in Arizona manage an ICE facility in Texas?

The South Texas Family Residential Center, in Dilley, TX sounds like it could be a pleasant apartment complex, but it's actually going to be a detention camp for female and child immigrants who have arrived from Central America.

Located next to a state prison and a man camp, the facility is currenty under construction, with workers quickly installing the modular buildings that will eventually hold 2,400 detainees, technically under the custody of U.S. Immigrations and Customs Enforcement (ICE). The Corrections Corporation of America, the largest for-profit prison corporation in the country, is contracted to run and maintain the facility. However, the contract is slightly unusual. While the facility is located in Dilley, the contract is going through the town of Eloy, Arizona—effectively bypassing the typically 18 month process that involves competitive bidding, environmental impact reports, and other safeguard measures before breaking ground on a new detention facility.

Immigrant rights advocates are worried about the contract for a multitude of reasons. Among other concerns, the immigrant detention center in Eloy has had the most detainee deaths in the country—13 since it was opened in 2004, says Bob Libal of Grassroots Leadership.  [node:read-more:link]

Families for families: The fight against detaining immigrant families begins today

This Saturday, Grassroots Leadership joined more than 50 other members and supporters of the Texans United for Families coalition for a vigil at the T. Don Hutto detention center, a private prison in Taylor, Texas.  The vigil marked the 5th anniversary of the long but successful campaign to end the shameful practice of detaining immigrant families — including small children — at the facility.  

The mood was solemn at the vigil as protesters were confronted with the renewal of mass family detention of refugee children and families from Central America.  The Obama Administration has announced the opening of a family detention center in Artesia, New Mexico and has begun detaining families at a GEO Group-operated facility in Karnes County, Texas. The administration has asked for funding for up to 6,300 family detention beds across the country.  

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