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Judge issues final judgement preventing licensing of Texas family detention centers

According to a press release from Grassroots Leadership, an Austin judge has issued a final judgement on a lawsuit by immigrant families to stop the licensing of family detention facilities in Texas.

The decision by Judge Karin Crump of the 250th District Court will effectively prevent the Texas Department of Family and Protective Services (DFPS) from issuing licenses to the nation's two largest family detention centers - the South Texas Family Residential Center in Dilley, Texas and the Karnes County Residential Center in Karnes City, Texas. Both of these facilities are run by private prison corporations, with the Dilley facility run by CoreCivic (formerly CCA), and Karnes operated by GEO Group.

The lawsuit had initially halted the licensing procedures of the Dilley family detention center as a child care facility, and this ruling invalidates the original DFPS rule that allowed the facilities to be licensed. Italso invalidates the license that the Karnes facility had received before the case could be presented to a judge, since it involves an invalidated regulation, as well as prevents further attempts at licensing without action by the Texas legislature.

"The conditions at Karnes and Dilley are equivalent to prisons, not childcare facilities,” said Bob Libal, executive director of Grassroots Leadership, a plaintiff in the case.  “We are glad the court heard our concerns about the damage that family detention does to mothers and their children and how lowering standards to issue licenses to these facilities only exacerbates that harm.  We now call on the Obama Administration to end the practice of detaining immigrant families once and for all.”

 

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