Jan 12, 2018
Houston Chronicle

Immigration detention deaths reach the highest total since 2009

"The number of deaths in 2017 has alarmed immigration activists, who have long accused immigration officials and detention center operators of providing delayed or substandard medical care and ignoring complaints of illness.

'Simply put, detention and deportation are a deadly business,' said Bob Libal, executive director of Grassroots Leadership. Libal, whose group monitors civil rights conditions, said the 'high-profile failings of the detention system in Texas' make him worried about plans to further increase the number of detainees held at privately owned facilities here. A 1000-bed for-profit detention center is planned to open in 2018 in Conroe, already home to another detention facility." [node:read-more:link]

What the hell is going on inside the Hutto detention center?

A letter from inside a controversial detention center contains new reports of sexual assault and retaliation against women detained in an immigrant detention center near Austin. The T. Don Hutto detention center, which imprisons asylum-seeking women, has been at the center of sexual assault scandals before.  One former guard was even incarcerated for multiple assaults.

Now, a letter sent by L.M. (the woman’s initials) from inside the Hutto detention center describes her and others’ experiences of sexual assault and retaliation and names two guards as perpetrators. The facility in Taylor, Texas, is operated for Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) by the private prison company commonly known as Corrections Corporation of America, or CCA, (which prefers to be called by its new corporate identity “CoreCivic” to obscure their three-decades long history). Guards at the facility are employees of the private prison company.

The letter describes a pattern of sexual assault that L.M. has endured since June. She writes that a female guard forced her into sexual acts against her will. “She harassed me, telling me threatening words and forcing me to have unwanted relations with her, which I did not want, but I had to do what she wanted,” she described. “She looked for or took advantage of every moment she could to touch my breasts or my legs, she knew where and when she did it, I don't remember dates because there are many. She worked in the recreation area and what she did with me she did with other residents.” [node:read-more:link]

Sep 11, 2017
Univision 62

Organizaciones locales piden los planes que tenía ICE para realizar presuntos operativos migratorios

Grassroots Leadership y otras organizaciones pro-inmigrantes “exigen a la agencia que entreguen los documentos que muestran cómo iban a realizar operativos que tenían planeados en Texas y Florida.” En su entrevista con Univision, Claudia Muñoz de Grassroots dijo, “Pensamos que es bien impor saber que ICE dijo que sí tenían un plan y nosotros queremos saber cuál era su plan que tenían para aterrorizar a la comunidad como han hecho antes… Nos estamos dando cuenta de todos estos ataques y la comunidad está cansándose y quiere luchar, quiere pelear por estar aquí.” Sobre el plan de ICE para las redadas, dijo Muñoz, “Esto es algo que tienen que darnos.” [node:read-more:link]

Grassroots Welcomes Elizabeth Welliver

Grassroots Leadership is glad to welcome Elizabeth Welliver to its Austin staff. Elizabeth joins Grassroots as the fifth Young Adult Volunteer (YAV) to serve with the immigration team since 2012. The Young Adult Volunteer program with the Presbyterian Church (USA) offers the opportunity for young adults to serve for one year alongside local partners while practicing simple living, vocational discernment, intentional Christian community, cross-cultural mission, and leadership development. [node:read-more:link]

Mar 9, 2015
The Daily Texan

Immigrant women likely to encounter violence after crossing the border, panelists say

"The LBJ School of Public Affairs held a conference Friday to discuss violence immigrant women face along the U.S.-Mexico border.

Austin-area immigrants and people in careers affiliated with immigration addressed issues such as rape, domestic violence and other forms of violence experienced by women coming to United States from Central and South America. Speakers also addressed issues concerning women in U.S. immigrant detention centers.

Many women emigrating from their home countries have been victims of violence, and that victimization often continues after they arrive in the U.S., according to Laurie Cook Heffron, researcher program coordinator at UT’s Institute on Domestic Violence and Sexual Assault." [node:read-more:link]

Jan 13, 2015
The Texas Observer

Five Issues to Watch as the Show Unfolds at the 84th Legislature

Grassroots Leadership's Cristina Parker speculates about the type of legislation immigrant rights groups are going to be fighting during the 84th Texas legislative session. 

“The general consensus among immigrant rights groups and advocates is that we’re going to see sanctuary city bills [allowing police to ask for immigration status] and legislation doing away with in-state tuition for undocumented students, among other things. I think both chambers are going to be rough.” [node:read-more:link]

Race, Space & Place: How Chinese Exclusion and Restrictionism Influence American Anxieties Around Immigration

When analyzing contemporary socio-economic and political issues, it is important to address the histories that shape mainstream national ideologies. Once adopted, these histories highly influence policies relevant to the nation as a whole. Thus, within this blog series I will highlight some of the often ignored historical influences that have guided popular national perceptions of immigration. With that, I will also analyze how these historical methods have shaped immigration policy and how they are utilized by politicians and corporations to lobby for and justify the privatization of for-profit detention facilities that house thousands of migrants today.

As a continuation of my last blog within this text I will discuss the ways in which the previously articulated notions surrounding race, space, and place later fed American anxieties. These anxieties helped originate the U.S. “gatekeeping ideology” that led to the first racialized and class-based discriminatory restrictionist immigration policy and later the U.S. Census. From this framework I will analyze the ways that these historical ideologies shape current perceptions around race, space, place and immigration.




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