Take A Stand on Hutto Detention Center

UT/Austin law professor Barbara Hines and students from her immigration law clinic, outside the Hutto Immigrant Detention Center at Taylor, Texas.

Tuesday : Say No To Hutto

This is a reminder that following Tuesday’s primary elections will be a caucus where you have the opportunity to shape the party platforms. We can use this opportunity to raise the issue of immigrant children and their families detained at the T. Don Hutto detention center.

After the polls close, people will gather at their respective precincts for caucuses. The Democrats will start caucusing at 7:15, the Republicans at 8:00pm. Anyone who attends the caucus can introduce resolutions and platform issues. The Democratic precinct chairperson in every Williamson County, Travis County, and Bexar County precinct should have a resolution titled “alternatives to detention of immigrant and asylum-seeking children” or “close Hutto” in their precinct packets. You can also bring the attached resolution to the caucus.

If you live in another county, you’ll have to print the resolution and bring it to your precinct caucus location. During the caucus there will be a time to discuss and vote on the resolutions after the presidential vote has taken place. You may have to mention that you would like to discuss the children detention/Hutto resolution. More on the process is available from the Texas Observer, Grits for Breakfast and Burnt Orange Report.

The resolution (below) is for the Democratic caucuses but can be easily adjusted for the Republican caucuses by changing the party name. If your precinct passes the resolution, please let me know as I’d like to keep a running tally.

Bob Libal
Grassroots Leadership / Texans United for Families / The Rag Blog

Resolution on Immigrant Detention

Resolution re: Alternatives to Detention of Immigrant and Asylum-seeking Children

WHEREAS, The Texas portion of the border between the United States and Mexico comprises more than half of the nearly 2,000-mile boundary between the two countries; as a result of this proximity, the State of Texas is uniquely aware of the importance of border protection to the security of the nation as a whole and sensitive to the impact of immigration on the economic and social well-being of both countries; and

WHEREAS, The Office of the Inspector General at the Department of Homeland Security estimates the costs of detaining illegal immigrants to be $1.2 billion annually, and current research indicates that detaining immigrant and asylum-seeking families does not deter illegal immigration;

WHEREAS, Homeland Security recently re-opened the T. Don Hutto Residential Facility in Taylor, Texas, operated by private prison firm Corrections Corporation of America, for the purpose of detaining immigrant and asylum-seeking families who are awaiting immigration proceedings; Of the families detained, approximately half are children; and

WHEREAS, the United States house and senate committees on appropriations have each expressed concern about children of families detained at the center, particularly about reports that some children have been removed from their families and placed in separate facilities; and

WHEREAS, Children who have had no decisive role in their migration or flight should not be exposed to avoidable trauma; it is clearly within our means to provide these children and infants a safe environment without disruption to their families, nutrition, education, and exercise while their parents await immigration proceedings; and

WHEREAS, A valid alternative to detaining immigrant families would be to release and reunite these children and their parents but closely monitor them under the Intensive Supervision Appearance Program, thereby reducing the emotional consequences to young children and the financial burden to taxpayers; Considering the apparent consequences of family detention, every possible alternative to family detention should be examined, considered, and exhausted before such action is taken; now, therefore, be it

RESOLVED, This Democratic Party caucus respectfully requests the Democratic Party of Texas to adopt and add to its platform that the U.S. Department of Homeland Security consider all alternatives to the detention of immigrant and asylum-seeking families with children; and, be it further

RESOLVED, That the Democratic Party of Texas forward official copies of this resolution to the president of the United States, the speaker of the house of representatives and the president of the senate of the United States Congress, all members of the Texas delegation to the congress, and the secretary of the United States Department of Homeland Security, with the request that this resolution be officially entered and adopted by the Democratic Party of the State of Texas.

Note: MDS/Austin has prepared a resolution on withdrawal from Iraq to be presented at precinct caucuses. It is available here.

Thorne Dreyer / The Rag Blog

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