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State Democratic Resolutions Committee Passes Hutto Resolution

Earlier this month, a combined version of resolutions calling for alternatives to family detention passed through the Resolutions Committee at this year's Democratic State Convention.

As Bob wrote in April, we knew that versions of the resolution had passed through Senate District Precincts in Travis County (Senate Districts 14 and 25) and Williamson and Brewster Counties. The next step was the State Convention.

A Temporary Resolutions Committee met two weeks before the convention to organize and categorize 2,000 resolutions, and on Friday, June 6th, each of Texas' 31 Senate Districts elected a member to a Permanent Resolutions committee to consider Resolutions on the following morning. The Permanent Resolutions Committee met on Saturday, June 7 from 8:00 am to almost 6:00 pm, and during that time it approved only about 100 resolutions. The Hutto Resolution was one of those, and after passing through the committee, it was referred to the elected State Democratic Executive Committee (SDEC) for further consideration.

The resolution language that passed through the Resolutions committee was briefer and slightly weaker than that approved at the Travis County Senate District Conventions, which I attended. The whereas sections were significantly cut, and the resolution does not require copies of the resolution to be sent to Michael Chertoff, President Bush, Congressional leaders, and members of the Texas delegation to Congress. Overall, though, the language approved by the Resolutions committee is a major step in the right direction.

The fate of the Hutto resolution is now in the hands of the SDEC. If approved, the Texas Democratic Party will add to its platform that the U.S. Department of Homeland Security should consider all alternatives to the detention of immigrant and asylum-seeking families with children, and the resolution will go to the Democratic National Convention in August.

It is nice to see a major political party take a position on family detention, especially as we've learned that Immigration and Customs Enforcement has accepted bids for three more Hutto-like family detention centers.

The resolution language that passed ut of the Resolutions committee is below:

RESOLUTION FOR ALTERNATIVES TO DETENTION OF IMMIGRANT AND ASYLUM-SEEKING CHILDREN
WHEREAS border protection is important to the security of the nation as a whole;
WHEREAS immigration affects the economic and social well-being of both the United States and Mexico;
WHEREAS a private firm re-opened the T. Don Hutto Residential Facility in Taylor, Texas, for the purpose of detaining immigrant and asylum-seeking families who are awaiting immigration proceedings,
WHEREAS it is not appropriate to convert a medium-security prison and rename it as a family detention center where children are detained with their families and some children are separated from their families;
NOW THEREFORE BE IT RESOLVED that the Texas Democratic Party add to its platform that the U.S. Department of Homeland Security should consider all alternatives to the detention of immigrant and asylum-seeking families with children, and must reunite children with their families; and
BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED that a child who is brought into this country by a family member shall not be subject to criminal sanctions, and the child's presence in the U.S. shall not be defined as unlawful.

We'll keep you updated on the resolution's progress.

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