Texas Senate approves ‘baby jails’ for Geo Group and other immigration articles – 5/11/17

prison barsGeo Group runs some of the nation’s largest private prisons, including the technically-not-a-prison Karnes immigration detention facility in Texas and Adelanto in California. Now the Texas Senate has passed Geo Group-drafted legislation to license Karnes as a child care facility – thus getting around a federal court ruling:

“[A] federal judge ruled that children held longer than 20 days must be housed in “non-secure” facilities with child care licenses. After the Texas Department of Family Protective Services granted Karnes a license, advocates sued.

“A state judge ruled last year that family detention centers did not qualify for licenses — prompting the Texas bill.”

Details about the Texas bill in two articles below – and if you have any doubts about how “family friendly” these private immigration prisons are, check out the California photo essay on Adelanto.

Senate passes bill to ease licensing for immigration detention centers (Texas Tribune, 5/9/17)

“The Texas Senate on Tuesday gave preliminary approval to legislation that would make it easier for the state to license privately run detention centers as “family residential centers” in order to hold immigrant families in detention centers longer….

“According to the Texas Pediatric Society, which opposes the measure, the legislation would allow the state to exempt the facilities from the Texas Department of Family and Protective Service’s general residential operations standards.

“Opponents of the bill call the facilities “baby jails” and say the measure is nothing more than a nod to the powerful prison companies.”

Texas Votes To Give Immigration Lockups Child Care Licenses (Houston Public Media 5/10/17)

“Texas lawmakers are advancing a proposal to license family immigrant detention centers as child care providers.

“The state Senate voted 20-11 Tuesday to give preliminary approval to a bill that would allow Texas to license two family lockdowns, despite a past state court ruling that such facilities do not meet minimum requirements to care for kids. The measure would enable detention facilities to hold families for prolonged stays, which advocates say could physically and psychologically harm children.”

What life is like inside California’s largest immigration detention center (Business Insider, 5/9/17) Photo essay shows life inside California’s Adelanto immigration prison, operated by Geo Group.

And in other immigration news

Mankato’s English language education focuses on the whole family (MPR, 5/10/17)

“With Mankato’s growing diversity comes a growing number of students who don’t speak English.

“That’s a challenge the city’s school district and community organizations are taking on with expanded English language education programs. Their approach is to start early and focus on the whole family.”

LAUSD is making it harder for immigration officials to enter schools (Los Angeles Times, 5/10/17)

“Among the safeguards in the sweeping set of guidelines: No immigration officers will be allowed on campus without clearance from the superintendent of schools, who will consult with district lawyers. Until that happens, they won’t be let in, even if they arrive with a legally valid subpoena.

L.A. Unified is basically saying fear stops at [our] door,” said school board member Ref Rodriguez, who co-sponsored the lengthy measure.”

Trump administration seeking criminal history of Haitians (Miami Herald 5/10/17)

“Haitian President Jovenel Moïse will personally ask President Donald Trump not to end a humanitarian program that has protected tens of thousands of Haitians from deportation….

“The public plea comes amid growing fears of a new deportation push as the U.S. Department of Homeland Security acknowledged compiling evidence on the crimes committed by Haitians enrolled in the Temporary Protected Status, or TPS, program.

“The unprecedented move has sparked outrage among members of Congress and Haitian immigrant advocates, and sent shivers through Central American groups that also have found shelter in the U.S. under TPS.

“If it’s canceled for the Haitians, we know that it will be canceled for Hondurans, Nicaraguans and Salvadorans,” said Francisco Portillo, president of the Miami-based Francisco Morazán Honduran Organization.”

Texas announces lawsuit against local officials considered hostile toward ‘sanctuary cities’ ban (Los Angeles Times, 5/8/17)

“The Texas attorney general announced Monday that the state had filed a lawsuit against local officials he said were hostile toward a ban on “sanctuary cities” that threatens to punish sheriffs and police chiefs who refuse to cooperate with federal immigration agents….

“Among the defendants named in the lawsuit is Sheriff Sally Hernandez of Travis County, which includes the state capital, Austin, who said this year she would not voluntarily comply with federal requests to detain people solely on the basis of their immigration status.

“Other defendants include Austin Mayor Steve Adler, the city’s interim city manager, all of Austin’s City Council members, and the Mexican American Legal Defense and Educational Fund, a civil rights organization.”

Fact-check: AG Jeff Sessions claims district attorneys charge immigrants for lesser crimes (Politifact, 5/10/17)

“It troubles me that we’ve seen district attorneys openly brag about not charging cases appropriately under the laws of our country, so that provides an opportunity for individuals not to be convicted of a crime that might lead to deportation,” Sessions said April 28 in Long Island, N.Y. “Some have advertised that they will charge a criminal alien with a lesser offense than presumably they would charge a United States citizen, so they won’t be deported. That baffles me.”…

Article discusses practices in the three jurisdictions that Sessions attacks.  jurisdictions.

“While all three jurisdictions refuted Sessions’ characterization of their policies, we found that some offices are considering alternative offenses a defendant can plead to in order to avoid “disproportionate collateral consequences,” such as deportation. They also point to a U.S. Supreme Court case that said considering deportation consequences in the plea-bargaining process may be a wise move for defendants and states.”

Former Kennesaw student stripped of protection from deportation (Atlanta Journal-Constitution, 5/10/17)

“It’s just amazing how I was able to renew my DACA application without any problems during the Obama administration. And under this administration my DACA status is being terminated, although the administration had mentioned… they were not going after Dreamers.”

California taxi driver detained at immigration check-in (U.S. News, 5/8/17)

A Southern California taxi driver originally from India was detained Monday by U.S. immigration authorities during a check-in for an 18-year-old deportation order.

Gurmukh Singh, a 47-year-old husband and father of two teenage girls, was detained at U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s offices in Santa Ana….

In 2013, he was arrested upon attending an interview for an application for a green card that was filed by his U.S. citizen wife — which, his lawyers say, was when he first learned about the old deportation order….

He has appealed the 1999 order, without success. Democratic Rep. Alan Lowenthal filed a private bill on his behalf. But …

“They told me that under President Trump’s executive actions, Mr. Singh’s case is now a priority,” his lawyer Monica Eav Glicken said.


About Mary Turck

News Day, written by Mary Turck, analyzes, summarizes, links to, and comments on reports from news media around the world, with particular attention to immigration, education, and journalism. Fragments, also written by Mary Turck, has fiction, poetry and some creative non-fiction. Mary Turck edited TC Daily Planet, www.tcdailyplanet.net, from 2007-2014, and edited the award-winning Connection to the Americas and AMERICAS.ORG, in its pre-2008 version. She is also a recovering attorney and the author of many books for young people (and a few for adults), mostly focusing on historical and social issues.
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