Karnes

Oct 11, 2014
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San Antonio Express-News

Protesters demand closure of Karnes residential facility

Elaine Cohen, who works with Grassroots Leadership, an Austin nonprofit that fights to end for-profit incarceration, said she's visited the center. She complained about the practice of housing children in what she said were jail-like conditions while a woman next to her held a bright-orange poster that said “Children need freedom and sunshine to grow.”

“You can paint laughing broccolis and smiling bananas on the walls all you want, but this is still a prison for children,” Cohen said, adding that this is the first of several protests. She noted that a larger detention center is slated to be built in Dilley, between San Antonio and Laredo, and said the group will be vigilant of others. Read more about Protesters demand closure of Karnes residential facility

Oct 13, 2014
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TWC News

Protesters Demand Closure of Immigration Facility

From Austin and San Antonio, close to one-hundred activists made the drive to Karnes County this weekend in protest of the more than 500 immigrants incarcerated inside the Karnes County Residential Center.

"When we as a country needed to open our arms and open our doors to people fleeing violence,” Cristina Parker, Grassroots Leadership’s immigration projects coordinator, said. “Instead, we locked them up. We're putting them in this prison now."

Part of the group’s message at the weekend rally is directed at the prison's operator, private company Geo Group Incorporated.

"We know that this is a company back here that is making $298 per day, per child," Parker said.

Click here to read the full report prepared by Grassroots Leadership. Read more about Protesters Demand Closure of Immigration Facility

Oct 11, 2014
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San Antonio Express-News

Critics frown at ICE jail contracts

Bob Libal, the executive director of Grassroots Leadership, an advocacy group that has been critical of ICE's detention policies and outsourcing to the private prison industry, said the reliance on signing deals with local entities rather than with the companies themselves lacks transparency.

“I think the reason they don't put out (requests for proposals), they do these (intergovernmental service agreements) is to avoid scrutiny, to rush through these decisions without the public or the media to scrutinize what they're doing,” Libal said. Read more about Critics frown at ICE jail contracts

Oct 11, 2014
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KSAT

Protesters gather at Karnes Co. detention center

Organizers referred to the practice as inhumane and believe the Karnes County Residential Center should be closed immediately.

Members of the group also alleged mistreatment of the people being held at the center.

"One of the biggest problems with this facility is that it's run by a private company, and the problem with that is that they aren't answerable to us, the people. They answer to their shareholders," said Cristina Parker, immigration projects coordinator at Grassroots Leadership. "So they have not given us any kind of response or anything, which is exactly why it needs to stop."

Complaints Mount of Inadequate Care and Harsh Conditions for Children and Families in ICE Family Detention Center in Karnes City

(AUSTIN, Texas) — Mothers and children who are asylum seekers detained by U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement at a for-profit detention center in Karnes City have mounting complaints about their harsh treatment and unduly severe detention conditions. 

Read more about Complaints Mount of Inadequate Care and Harsh Conditions for Children and Families in ICE Family Detention Center in Karnes City

Humpday Hall of Shame: Nayely is only 7 and fighting brain cancer in detention

UPDATE: Nayely and Sara were finally relased on Wednesday, September 3 after hundreds of calls poured into the facility demanding their release.

This week on Humpday Hall of Shame we are highlighting the Karnes County family detention center, which is operated by GEO Group. Beginning August 1 of this year, Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) began using Karnes to hold more than 500 women and children who have recently come to the U.S. from Central America seeking refuge.

Recent reports indicate that ICE is unwilling to grant any bonds, or grants exorbitantly high bonds — even to those women with children who are able to pass a credible fear interview and qualify to apply for asylum status. According to ICE spokeswoman Nina Pruneda, bond decisions are now being made on a case-by-case basis with consideration given to flight risk and public safety.  However, the majority of the women currently being denied bond can prove that they have family members or others who are available to receive them. This new policy was handed down as a reaction to the influx of women and children fleeing from increasing violence in Central America.

Read more about Humpday Hall of Shame: Nayely is only 7 and fighting brain cancer in detention

Jul 30, 2014
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International Business Times

Migrant Family Detentions On The Rise, And Private Companies Stand To Profit

... Bob Libal, executive director of Grassroots Leadership, an advocacy organization that has campaigned against family detention and the for-profit prison industry, said the government would likely be eager to keep contracting family detention centers to private companies.

“It’s an easy solution for the government because there are private prison corporations that have excess capacity, particularly today, with declining state prison populations,” he said. “And it’s about influence -- private prison corporations are enormously powerful, particularly in immigration.” Libal noted that Julie Myers Wood, former head of U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement, is a member of GEO Group’s board of directors, and that David Venturella, former head of the "Secure Communities" enforcement program, is now a GEO Group senior vice president ....  Read more about Migrant Family Detentions On The Rise, And Private Companies Stand To Profit

Immigration Detention Visitation Programs are Spreading Around Texas!

Guest Blogger, Elaine Cohen, attended a Hutto Visitation Program (HVP) orientation in October of 2011 and began visiting immigration detention centers in Texas almost immediately.  Since then she has visited with over a dozen women from Central America and Africa and provided invaluable support and coordination for Grassroots Leadership's collaboration with CIVIC (Community Initiatives to Visit Immigrants in Confinement) to visit three Texas cities to talk about immigration detention visitation.  Her degree in Religion and Women's Studies comes together in this work at the juncture of Human Rights and Social Justice.   

Grassroots Leadership's Executive Director, Bob Libal and CIVIC's Co-Executive Director, Christina Mansfield, planned and carried out a three city tour to Houston, Austin and San Antonio on October 10, 11 and 12th.  The purpose of the tour was to generate interest in starting visitation programs in the Houston and San Antonio areas.  Bob and Christina's combined knowledge covered an ample spectrum on the private prison industry's involvement in immigrant detention centers and the actual conditions within these facilities across the country.

Read more about Immigration Detention Visitation Programs are Spreading Around Texas!

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