Saturday, February 10, 2007
It seems that immigrant detention has been in the news constantly since the 1996 immigration reforms. The latest involves a controversy over a new facility for immigrant families in Texas.
Responding to complaints about conditions at the nation’s main family detention center for illegal immigrants, federal officials threw open the gates on Friday for a first news media tour of the the T. Don Hutto Family Detention Center, is operated for the government by the Corrections Corporation of America, under a $2.8-million-a-month contract with Williamson County, Texas. It is named for a founder of the company, which runs 64 facilities in 19 states.
According to the N.Y. Times (here), federal officials portrayed the privately run converted prison, open since May, as a model facility “primarily focused on the safety of the children.” Once all the barbed wire comes down, Gary Mead, an Immigration and Customs Enforcement official, said, “it’s going to look more like a community college with a very high chain-link fence.”
Among other things, critics have complained about the prisonlike conditions, the food and the limited amount of schooling and recreation provided for children. Inside the fluorescent-lighted corridors, plastic plants had been hurriedly installed and some areas repainted, lawyers for some detainees said, and officials acknowledged that pizza was on the lunch menu for the first time. The detainees could not be interviewed.
Here are some more stories on the Hutto detention center courtesy of Dan Kowalski.
For Dan Kowalski's take, see http://www.ijjblog.org/2007/02/hell_in_hutto.html