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Immigrant Rights Coalition To Call For Ending Detention Of Immigrant Children And Families

 

Contact: Bob Libal, Grassroots Leadership, blibal@grassrootsleadership.org(512) 971-0487;

Michelle Brané, Women's Refugee Commission, MichelleB@wrcommission.org, (646) 717-7191;

Dotty Griffith, ACLU of Texas, (832) 291-4776 or dgriffith@aclutx.org

 

 

Media Advisory 

 

Immigrant Rights Coalition To Call For Ending

Detention Of Immigrant Children And Families


AUSTIN – A coalition of immigrants’ rights organizations will call on Immigrations and Customs Enforcement (ICE) to end immigrant family detention at a press conference set for noon on Tuesday, January 10, at the Federal Building, 300 E 8th St.


Representatives from the ACLU of Texas, Grassroots Leadership, and Texans United for Families will speak at the press conference. The groups will unveil a letter to Immigration and Customs Enforcement calling for ending detention of immigrant children and families.  


The letter is also signed by the American Civil Liberties Union, America’s Voice Education Fund, Catholic Legal Immigration Network, Center for Constitutional Rights, Detention Watch Network, DreamActivist.org, Human Rights First, Human Rights Defense Center, Justice Strategies, Lutheran Immigration and Refugee Services, National Day Laborer Organizing Network, National Immigration Forum, National Latina Institute for Reproductive Health, Religious Institute, Rights Working Group, Southern Poverty Law Center, United Methodist Church General Board of Church and Society, Women's Refugee Commission, and more than 40 state and local organizations from across the country.


What: Press conference calling for end to detention of immigrant children and families. 

Where: Federal Building, 300 E 8th St., Austin, TX

When: Tuesday, January 10, noon

Tell ICE: No New Immigrant Detention Center in Karnes Co., Texas!

Sign the petition to stop the construction of the new private prison for immigrants in Texas!

OVERVIEW

The Department of Homeland Security’s Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) has contracted with a private prison company with a history of abuse to build a new immigration detention center in Karnes County, Texas. The center is meant to hold asylum-seekers and other low-level immigration detainees.

Today, more than 33,000 people languish in the U.S.'s vast and troubled immigration detention system, with more than 10,000 immigrant detention beds located in Texas alone.   Despite a mandate for detention reform, ICE has contracted with the GEO Group, a for-profit prison company with a long track record of abuse and mismanagement at their Texas prisons and detention centers, to build this "civil" detention center.

The GEO Group has had a number of contracts in Texas terminated in recent years after serious allegations of abuse and neglect.

New, abusive for-profit detention centers are not the answer! Sign the petition to tell Secretary of Homeland Security Janet Napolitano to stop construction of the new detention center in Karnes County, Texas, and to prioritize release and alternatives to detention programs for asylum-seekers and other immigrants.

Texans United For Families-Cesar Chavez Rally Austin 2011

 

No New Detention Centers in Texas!

Greetings,

I write to express my firm opposition to plans by the Department of Homeland Security’s Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) agency to contract for a new private immigration detention center in Karnes County, Texas.

 



ICE has stated that the Karnes County detention center will detain asylum-seekers and immigrants at the lowest level of immigration custody. Private prison contractor GEO Group will build and operate the facility under contract with Karnes County.

 



I am disappointed that ICE is using its mandate for detention reform to construct new detention facilities for people who should be released on bond or into alternatives programs. Instead of building new immigration detention centers, the administration should prioritize release of immigrants pending hearings, and the use of more humane and more cost effective alternatives to detention programs.

 



I am also troubled that the process in selecting the site and contractor for the facility has consistently lacked transparency and input from communities in Texas. Community members first found out about the facility’s construction after the GEO Group issued a press release in December 2010. The County Judge Alger Kendall told residents during a Karnes County Commissioners’ Court hearing that “The federal government said this was not to be discussed by anyone,” a statement that hardly reflects a commitment to effective oversight and transparency when making a decision where people’s lives are at stake.

 



Furthermore, the GEO Group, the private prison company contracted to build and operate the facility, has a long track record of abuse and mismanagement at their Texas prisons and detention centers. While ICE has denied knowledge of problems at GEO’s facilities, the company’s problems have been repeatedly highlighted in public news reports. The GEO Group has had a number of contracts in Texas terminated in recent years after serious allegations of abuse and neglect.

 



In February, a coalition of 15 Texas-based civil and immigrant rights organizations sent you a letter calling on you to immediately end the contract to build the new Karnes County detention center and to investigate options that would prioritize alternatives to detention for asylum seekers and those immigrants that pose no security threat. 

I urgently add my voice to that call.

[Your name]
 

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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