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Hutto Resolutions at March 4th Caucuses

An opportunity has arisen to bring the issue of the families detained at the T. Don Hutto to the caucuses coming up on March 4th. Here's how it works. On March 4th, after the polls close, people will gather at their respective precincts for caucuses. Anyone who attends the caucus can introduce resolutions and platform issues. Once a resolution is submitted, those who attend will debate the proposed resolution as well as vote. If the item is approved, it will be passed on to the County platform committee, which will discuss incorporating the proposal at the County level. At the County level, if approved, it will be forwarded on up to the State level.

More on the process is available at the blogs Grits for Breakfast (check out Grits for other prison-related resolutions) and Burnt Orange Report. Anyone can introduce a resolution at the caucuses, but it helps tremendously for the resolutions to be submitted in many precincts around the state. Below is a draft resolution for the Democratic caucuses that can be easily adjusted for the Republican caucuses by changing the party name.

Resolution re: Alternatives to Detention of Immigrant and Asylum-seeking Children

WHEREAS, The Texas portion of the border between the United States and Mexico comprises more than half of the nearly 2,000-mile boundary between the two countries; as a result of this proximity, the State of Texas is uniquely aware of the importance of border protection to the security of the nation as a whole and sensitive to the impact of immigration on the economic and social well-being of both countries; and

WHEREAS, The Office of the Inspector General at the Department of Homeland Security estimates the costs of detaining illegal immigrants to be $1.2 billion annually, and current research indicates that detaining immigrant and asylum-seeking families does not deter illegal immigration;

WHEREAS, Homeland Security recently re-opened the T. Don Hutto Residential Facility in Taylor, Texas, operated by private prison firm Corrections Corporation of America, for the purpose of detaining immigrant and asylum-seeking families who are awaiting immigration proceedings; Of the families detained, approximately half are children; and

WHEREAS, the United States house and senate committees on appropriations have each expressed concern about children of families detained at the center, particularly about reports that some children have been removed from their families and placed in separate facilities; and

WHEREAS, Children who have had no decisive role in their migration or flight should not be exposed to avoidable trauma; it is clearly within our means to provide these children and infants a safe environment without disruption to their families, nutrition, education, and exercise while their parents await immigration proceedings; and

WHEREAS, A valid alternative to detaining immigrant families would be to release and reunite these children and their parents but closely monitor them under the Intensive Supervision Appearance Program, thereby reducing the emotional consequences to young children and the financial burden to taxpayers; Considering the apparent consequences of family detention, every possible alternative to family detention should be examined, considered, and exhausted before such action is taken; now, therefore, be it

RESOLVED, This Democratic Party caucus respectfully requests the Democratic Party of Texas to adopt and add to its platform that the U.S. Department of Homeland Security consider all alternatives to the detention of immigrant and asylum-seeking families with children; and, be it further

RESOLVED, That the Democratic Party of Texas forward official copies of this resolution to the president of the United States, the speaker of the house of representatives and the president of the senate of the United States Congress, all members of the Texas delegation to the congress, and the secretary of the United States Department of Homeland Security, with the request that this resolution be officially entered and adopted by the Democratic Party of the State of Texas.

Word has it that the resolution should be included at all Williamson County and Travis County Democratic caucus packets. We'll keep you updated on developments.