Many Americans favor the detention of undocumented immigrants in the United States. They are, it is argued, here illegally. They should be referred to as illegal aliens. And they should be detained when caught.
But what even those taking a hard line on this issue may not realize is that it's not just adult males caught wading across the Rio Grande who are being held. So to, are women and children.
Joining us on Thursday February 5 to discuss the issue of immigrant family detention will be Bob Libal, the coordinator of Grassroots Leadership's campaign to end immigrant family detention. Grassroots Leadership is a 28-year-old southern-based social justice organization. Libal says women and children are being held in prison-like conditions while they await immigration hearings.
The conditions under which the detainees are held has been challenged in the past. In the fall of 2007, the ACLU forced officials at the T. Don Hutto family detention center outside of Austin, TX to stop requiring children to wear prison garb. They also forced them to provide schooling, health care and recreation for the children.
Hutto was designed as a medium security prison managed by the Corrections Corporation of America, a for-profit adult corrections company. As many as 300 families are held there daily. Libal says the facilities are inadequate for the incarceration of infants and children. For example, as a result of the ACLU action, privacy curtains were ordered placed around toilets. But Grassroots Leadership says the conditions for minors remains intolerable.
The organization is pressuring the Homeland Security Department to adopt humane alternatives for managing families whose immigration status is in limbo and work to incorporate alternatives which keep families intact and that do not rely on incarceration. For example, there are, Grassroots Leadership argues, residential facilities that are vacant where nuclear families can remain intact while their status is being determined.
To talk to Libal on News Talk Online on Paltalk.com at 5 PM New York time Thursday February 5 CLICK HERE.
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