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Thanks to the Settlement, ICE Can Now Have Monitors at Hutto

ICE has not yet posted their statement about the Hutto settlement to the press room of their website (9 AM PT August 29th), which is surprising, given that to hear them tell it, the settlement is even better for them than it is for the children who have now been released from Hutto. From the Houston Chronicle:

ICE spokeswoman Nina Pruneda would not answer questions about the settlement on Monday, but she released a statement that defended conditions at Hutto and welcomed the outside monitoring.

The judge's participation "will help improve communication about the facility and end any misconceptions and allegations falsely made about the Hutto facility," the ICE statement said.

That's a fascinating argument for monitoring: that the presence of a monitor at a prison could end any false accusations of mistreatment, rather than end any actual mistreatment or address any issues of confinement that concern the children held there. Okay... so maybe ICE could've ended some of those false accusations by letting a leading UN expert on the human rights of migrants, Jorge Bustamante, take a look at Hutto back in May, instead of inviting him and then abruptly cancelling his visit.

More from the article:

Pruneda also said Monday afternoon that ICE could not provide the number of detainees currently in Hutto.

Could not? Is it possible that they don't know? Highly unlikely. Like most correctional facilities, Hutto staff count heads a few times a day. (This KVUE article from the AP wire reports that counts there happen four times a day. This article also suggests that there are around 400 people currently detained in Hutto, but it's not an exact number.)

ICE probably could answer that question. But, then, the next logical question is, "how many of the detainees at Hutto are children?" and that's the question that they really don't want to answer. After all, hundreds of children sitting in a prison is a pretty unnerving image, and Hutto is unpopular enough already.

Speaking of which: the next vigil at Hutto is scheduled for September 29th.

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