The detention of undocumented immigrants in a former medium security prison outside Austin, TX was the topic of today's News Talk Online on Paltalk.com.
Guest Bob Libal, coordinator of Grassroots Leadership's campaign to end immigrant family detention, says, until the ACLU stepped in with a lawsuit, children held at the T. Don Hutto facility wore prison garb. And had no privacy when using the lavatory facilities.
He described one case when a mother was taken from her child to another detention facility as a punitive measure.
Libal says the facility is costly. Prior to instituting this policy of locking up all discovered illegal immigrants, people in the United States without documentation were tracked and given dates to appear for immigration status hearings. He says more than 90 percent showed up for court. The cost, he says, of administering the program came out to $12-a-day per person.
The cost of housing people at Hutto, he says, is about $200 daily.
"The Austin Hilton costs less than $200-a-day," he argues, "so it would be cheaper to house them" there.
Actually the Hilton Austin charges about $230-a-night but the room includes two queen beds, so it would, given Libal's figures, be cheaper to house two people in the hotel a night than at Hutto.
Libal is also concerned that there's little insight into conditions at Hutto, which is run for the federal government by a private company, Corrections Corporation of America.
"The United Nations," he says, "and the Organization of American States has tried to visit Hutto. Both have been turned away."