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grassroots leadership

Close Polk Immigration Prison Protest in Livingston, TX


On December 8th, 2012, people from Houston and Austin came to Livingston, TX to protest the Polk County Immigration Prison. This for-profit immigrant detention center is owned by the infamous Community Education Centers (CEC) and has been identified as one of the worst of the worst in the U.S.'s immigration detention system. As part of the national Expose and Close Campaign of the Detention Watch Network, organizers from Houston Unidos, Texans United for Families and Grassroots Leadership came together to call for the closure of this prison.

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Undocubus Visits Austin: Undocumented and Unafraid

The Undocubus visited Austin on August 3rd as part of their cross-country tour exposing the unjust immigration policies of the United States. The undocumented immigrants of the bus left Phoeniz where they have been part of the campaign to remove Sheriff Joe Arpaio from power.

Allies and supporters in Austin held a rally in solidarity with the Undocubus at our Sheriff Greg Hamilton's office. Sheriff Hamilton, like Sheriff Arpaio, uses the "Secure Communities" program in his jail which collaborates with ICE (Immigration & Customs Enforcement) to send suspected undocumented immigrants to immigration prison and deportation. The demonstrators called on Sheriff Hamilton to end "Secure Communities" in Travis County.

The following day, members of the Undocubus held a teach-in with Texans United For Families and the Hutto Visitation Program on Breaking the Isolation of Immigrant Detention.

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Texans United for Families on Facebook

Texas Groups Call on Wells Fargo to Divest From Private Prison Corporations


A coalition of Austin-based immigrant rights, student and faith organizations joined community and labor groups in thirteen major cities nationwide on Tuesday, January 24th in protests against private detention company investments. Protestors are calling for major investors such as Wells Fargo to divest of their holdings in the for-profit private prison industry.  According to SEC filings, Wells Fargo currently holds over 3.5 million shares in private prison corporation GEO Group and as well as shares in Corrections Corporation of America.

Participants gathered outside the Wells Fargo bank on Guadalupe Street across from the Universoty of Texas.  Organizers deilvered a letter to Well Fargo from community groups and faith organizations.

“Wells Fargo’s support of the GEO Group is even more troubling in light of GEO’s history in Texas,” said Carmen Llanes of Texans United for Families. GEO’s facilities include prisons, immigration detention centers, and juvenile detention centers where people have suffered from inadequate medical care and unsafe and unsanitary conditions. Deaths, riots, and hunger strikes at GEO’s facilities are indicative of GEO’s culture of cruelty and underscore the need to end construction of new GEO facilities.

Photos by Rocío Villalobos

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Dignity Not Detention National Day of Action in Austin


Human rights groups around the country participated in a National Day of Action yesterday to mark the one-year anniversary of the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) Immigration Customs and Enforcement's (ICE) 2009 detention reform announcement. Activists called for an end to the human rights abuses in detention centers, the restoration of due process in the enforcement of immigration laws, and the implementation of cost saving alternatives.


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