In 2009, the federal government stopped detaining families in Texas and cancelled plans to build new family detention facilities as advocates made clear that the practice was inhumane. Now, despite the administration’s stated commitment to reforming the detention system, plans are underway to build at least ten new detention facilities, including one to hold children with their parents.
The ACLU of Texas sued Immigration and Customs Enforcement in 2007 for detaining immigrant children at the T. Don Hutto Center in Texas. As a result, the facility for families was shut down and the only detention center in the country still housing families is in Pennsylvania is scheduled to close in March.
But last November, U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement put out a request for proposal for 100 new family detention beds in Texas, according to KUT.
“There is no reason why families must be detained while their immigration cases proceed and the administration could easily release children and parents to community based alternatives to detention,” said Seth Freed Wessler, Colorlines.com’s investigation reporter.
“Detention centers are dismal places, no matter how humane the administration tried to make them. They are no place for children,” Wessler went on to say.
Immigrant rights advocate interviewed by KUT, say probation-like alternatives should be used instead, including ankle bracelets, home visits and home-like community shelters.