“At first the Obama administration said they were locking up families to deter people from crossing,” Cristina Parker, organizer with the advocacy group Grassroots Leadership, told AlterNet. “Then when a judge said that was unconstitutional they changed their rationale and said it’s for national security, which is a thin argument. Seeing on paper that they have a quota that directly benefits private prisons underlines that family detention is really driving revenue and profits.” Read more about Immigration Officials Making Secret Deals With Private Prisons to Lock Up More Mothers and Children
Federal immigration officials are moving forward with plans for a new 500-bed family detention center to house migrant women and children, even as many advocates and politicians have called for the closure of such facilities altogether.
Officials in Dimmit County, 45 miles from the Texas border with Mexico, say they’ll consider a bid on Monday from a firm who says their facility in a 27-acre former work camp for oil workers would provide dramatically better conditions than two other family detention centers in the state.
Those facilities have faced complaints of poor food, inadequate medical care and allegations of sexual abuse from detainees, activists and the US Civil Rights Commission.
But Cristina Parker, Immigration Programs Director for Grassroots Leadership, said she and other advocates object inherently to the concept of a detention center for families fleeing violence, regardless of the purported conditions.
“If you are not free to leave, then it doesn’t matter how nice it is,” Parker said. “It’s a prison.” Read more about Immigration officials consider bid for new 'hotel-like' detention center
The Obama administration’s efforts to comply with a judge’s order over the treatment of immigrant children suffered a setback Monday when Jim Wells County commissioners rejected a proposed holding center for immigrant families.
“We don't think that there is any way that women and children can be kept in a government facility,” said Alejandro Caceres, the immigration organizer at the Austin advocacy group Grassroots Leadership. Read more about Jim Wells County deals blow to ICE detention center strategy
A child detained at a Serco facility in Australia said, "Even if you make this place heaven it is not enough for us because we feel like we are in a cage. We feel people see us like animals in a cage."
A court hearing Friday over the licensing of immigrant detention centers in Texas is likely to delve into the unresolved question of whether children illegally crossing the southern U. S. border can be held for long periods at facilities that federal officials say are vital to prepare for another wave of immigrant families this summer.
Austin-based Grassroots Leadership wants a temporary injunction that would delay the granting of a child care facility license to the 2,400-bed South Texas Family Residential Center in Dilley. The other Texas detention center, the 500-bed facility in Karnes City, was granted a temporary license in April.
"This is part of a broader effort, both federal litigation and a lot of advocacy, calling on the administration to not make the largest trend in locking up families since Japanese internment part of its immigration legacy," said Bob Libal, Grassroots' executive director. Read more about Texas Court to Hear Challenge on Immigrant Detention Centers
The Corrections Corporation of America, the largest private corrections firm in the United States, reported revenue of $447.4 million in the first quarter of 2016, a 5 percent increase from the same quarter a year prior, the company reported in a statement.
“It’s sickening to hear CCA and GEO brag about their profitable quarter to shareholders,” Cristina Parker, immigration programs director at the immigrant advocacy organization Grassroots Leadership, said in a statement.“That money is made off the suffering of mothers and children who came to the US for refuge.” Read more about For-profit prison earnings increase due to surge in immigrant family detention centers
During separate conference calls to talk about earnings reports, two of the country’s largest for-profit private prisons indicated that they saw their profits soar from holding immigrant mothers and children in detention centers across the country.
Revenues increased during the first quarter of 2016 for both the Corrections Corp. of America and GEO Group, executives told shareholders on conference calls.
CCA saw a revenue of $447.4 million, a 5 percent increase from last year’s first quarter. The company’s press release attributed much of that increase to a federal contract with the Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) agency.
“It’s sickening to hear CCA and GEO brag about their profitable quarter to shareholders,” Cristina Parker, immigration programs director at Grassroots Leadership, said in a press release. “That money is made off the suffering of mothers and children who came to the U.S. for refuge.” Read more about Private Prison CEOs ‘Pleased’ Their Earnings Soared From Keeping Immigrant Kids In Detention
After surviving multiple rapes and death threats from MS-13 gang members, a 35-year-old Salvadoran mother gathered up her 12-year-old daughter and fled to the United States in hopes of seeking asylum. But when they arrived in South Texas in March, she says, they faced a new nightmare — an immigrant detention center where they experienced sexual abuse at the hands of another woman housed in the same room.
The mother, referred to as E.G.S. in court documents, and her daughter are detained in the Karnes County Residential Center, a 500-bed federal immigration detention facility run by the private prison company GEO Group, Inc. Between Karnes and a second facility, the South Texas Family Residential Center in Dilley, Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) is currently detaining approximately 1,800 immigrant mothers and children in Texas.
But in order to comply with a federal order that children be housed in licensed residential centers, Texas must categorize these detention facilities as state child care providers. After a controversial start — Texas made its first attempts to license the facilities behind closed doors without public hearings last fall — the state issued its first child care license to the prison company that manages the Karnes facility in late April.
Now, E.G.S and another mother, along with the Austin nonprofit Grassroots Leadership, have sued to stop the state from issuing further licenses. An Austin judge has temporarily halted the licensing until a court hearing Friday. Read more about ‘She Lives in Fear,’ Not in El Salvador, but in Texas Detention
(AUSTIN, Texas) — Corrections Corporation of America (CCA) and GEO Group reported their first quarter earnings for 2016 on their conference calls for shareholders on Thursday May 5 and Thursday April 28, respectively. Read more about Private prison corporations tell shareholders that family detention centers drove increase in revenue
The U.S. has three family detention centers, used to hold migrant children and their mothers as they apply for asylum, and the two largest are in Texas. One is in Dilley, the other in Karnes. They’re both dusty towns between San Antonio and the Mexican border, and together they have about 3,500 beds.
The facilities have been at the center of a legal fight in Texas courts this week. The issue is whether one of these centers could or should be considered a child-care facility. The Obama administration has tried to get Texas to grant its Karnes County Residential Center a child-care license, arguing that the designation would serve in the best interest of immigrant children, who are held there as they’re screened for asylum. But immigration advocates hope to shut down the centers, which they view as prisons––or at the very least, they want the children released. This strange-sounding struggle over a label is about legal semantics, but it’s also about how the U.S. chooses and is allowed to treat migrant children. Read more about Is it an Immigration Detention Facility or a Child-Care Center?