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Advocates and County Judge at Odds Over New Detention Center

Duval County officials are still pushing for a new family detention center despite immigrant rights advocates and others saying that the centers have many problems, according to Public Radio International (PRI).

As we reported earlier, Duval County Judge Ricardo Carrillo submitted a proposal in July for a new family detention center in San Diego, hoping that the new facility will bring economic opportunities to the county. However, advocates and former employees of Karnes County Residential Facility, have different opinions on the matter.

Dr. Olivia Lopez, a former social worker at Karnes and whistleblower who exposed what she called “torture” inside, said that the environment at the detention center created high levels of anxiety for both the mothers and their children. "They were being lorded over at all times with the threat of removal of children or deportation all the time," Lopez said.

Immigrant rights advocates are also concerned about the detention center being run by Serco, a private UK-based corporation, which has been accused of abusive practices in their detention centers in both Britain and Australia. Justin Tullius, the managing attorney with RAICES at Corpus Christi, said "we're continuing our campaign to raise awareness about family detention, as it already exists in Karnes and Dilley. And to let them know that that's what it would look like here."

Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) has said it is considering proposals and expects to make a decision on a new location by October 2017.

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