You are here

civil detention

Report Exposes Treatment of Asylum Seekers Denied Parole in Texas

Photo from Flickr

 

Human Rights First published a timely report, “Judge and Jailer: Asylum Seekers Denied Parole in Wake of Trump Executive Order,” that exposes the Trump administration’s lengthened detention of asylum seekers following the Executive Order issued on January 25. The research names South Texas as an area where ICE rarely, if ever, grants parole to asylum seekers who meet the criteria of the 2009 ICE Asylum Parole Directive.

The report includes an excerpt from Martín Méndez Pineda’s article in the Washington Post from May 25, 2017 detailing his experience in detention:

“From the first day I crossed the border heading north, I saw discrimination, abuse and humiliation. They transferred me to a privately run detention center called West Texas Detention Facility in the city of Sierra Blanca. There, I experienced the worst days of my life. It is known by the detainees as ‘el gallinero’ (‘the henhouse’), because the barracks resemble a stable for livestock. It was designed for about 60 people but houses more than 100, who are exposed to all kinds of diseases and don’t have access to adequate medical attention. The henhouse of Sierra Blanca is small, with metal bunks, worn-out rubber mattresses, wooden floors, bathrooms with the walls covered in green and yellow mold, weeds everywhere, and snakes and rats that come in the night. The guards look at the detainees with disgust, and everything we say to them is ignored. Honestly, it is hell.”

The report also uncovers that asylum seekers have been denied parole to keep bed spaces filled, while others are granted asylum when space is needed. For example, at the T. Don Hutto Detention Center in Taylor, Texas owned by CoreCivic (formerly Corrections Corporation of America, or CCA), women who met the criteria for parole have generally been denied release. The research shows this trend changed according to capacity: “Then pro bono attorneys learned that arriving asylum seekers who had passed credible fear screenings were suddenly receiving parole assessments and in some cases were released from detention. This aberration appeared to coincide with an increase in the number of women sent to the facility, suggesting that the parole grants may have been prompted by a need to free up bed space at the facility.”

 

Photo credit from Flickr

Blogging Categories: 

GEO Group earning call highlights contract bids in Texas

GEO Group's quarterly conference call was held on Monday.  The calls are a great way to see how the private prison industry thinks about the prison system and where expansion opportunities may lie.  

On this call, GEO executives talked to investors about recent company developments and where it sees its future business opportunities, including several in Texas.  Here are some of the highlights, as it relates to Texas' private prison industry:

  • GEO has activated the 600-bed Karnes County Civil Detention Center, the controversial Immigration and Customs Enforcement-contracted facility, which the company expects will bring $15 million annualized revenues.
  • GEO Care, a GEO Group fully owned subsidiary, is planning on bidding for on a formal RFP to operate one state mental health hospital.
  • GEO's transport division is bidding on contracts with ICE in the Dallas area and a Customs and Border Patrol contract along the SW Border.  These were described as the two largest transport procurement options currently in bidding.
  • GEO's BI electronic monitoring subsidiary is poised to increase profits if a recommended 40-50% budget increase goes through to expand Immigration and Customs Enforcement's electronic monitoring contract.

The company mentioned that they are closely monitoring developments on all of these fronts, and so will we.  We'll keep you posted on developments.  

Blogging Categories: 

GEO Group hiring in anticipation of opening Karnes Civil Detention Center

The GEO Group is hiring in anticipation of opening its Karnes County Civil Detention Ce

nter in Karnes City, according to an article in the South Texas usiness Journal (James Aldridge, "GEO Group to hire 400 positions in South Texas," November 17):

"Workforce Solutions Alamo is hosting a job fair in Floresville, Texas, to help GEO Group  to fill 400 jobs just south of San Antonio.

The company is building a new facility in Kenedy, Texas, and needs to fill open and available positions. Interested applicants should visit www.workintexas.com to see a list of available jobs. The job fair will be held at the Floresville Workforce Center on Nov. 29 from noon to 7 p.m. The pay range for the positions ranges from $9 per hour to $70,000 per year."

The facility is actually under construction and is just outside of Karnes City, and not Kenedy. It would be interesting to see which of the positions pay $9 an hour. 

As we've reported, the choice of GEO Group - perhaps Texas' most troubled private prison corporate - to operate Immigration and Custom's Enforcement's new model immigration detention center has raised eyebrows and opposition, including from my organization.  This opposition included a letter sent from 15 Texas-based civil and immigrant rights organizations to Secretary of Homeland Security Janet Napolitano expressing opposition to the facility. 

We'll keep you posted on developments from Karnes County. 

Blogging Categories: 

Opposition grows to GEO's Karnes County detention center

Last week, Grassroots Leadership (my organization and a co-sponsor of this blog) was one of 15 Texas-based civil and immigrant rights organizations to send a letter (PDF) to Secretary of Homeland Security Janet Napolitano expressing opposition to the new GEO Group "civil" immigration detention center in Karnes County.  Here's an excerpt from the press release that accompanied the letter:

A year ago, ICE announced sweeping reforms to its immigration detention system and a desire to move away from isolated detention centers. The advocacy groups expressed disappointment that ICE had used its reform mandate to construct new detention facilities for people who could be released on bond or into alternatives programs.

The letter also criticized the choice of for-profit prison corporation GEO Group as a partner for the new immigration detention center.  ...

A number of GEO Group contracts were terminated in Texas in recent years after serious allegations of abuse and neglect. The suicides of Scot Noble Payne and Randall McCullough and subsequent investigations into squalid conditions preceded the closure of GEO’s Dickens County and Bill Clayton detention centers. In 2007, the Texas Youth Commission shuttered the GEO Group-run Coke County Juvenile Justice Center after a damning investigation into conditions at the youth detention center.

The coalition includes the ACLU of Texas, American Gateways, Austin Immigrant Rights Coalition, Council on American Islamic Relations-TX, San Antonio, Grassroots Leadership, La Union del Pueblo Entero, People Organizing in Defense of Earth and her Resources, Redes Cuidadanas of Texas, Southwest Workers Union, Texans United for Families, Texas Civil Rights Project, Texas Indigenous Council, Texas Jail Project, WilCo Justice Alliance, and the Workers Defense Project.

As we reported last year, GEO was awarded an Intergovernmental Service Agreement to operate this new "civil" detention center on the same day it was sued by the ACLU over the death of Jesus Manuel Galindo at the company's Reeves County Detention Center.  We'll be following this story closely and will keep you updated.

Blogging Categories: 
Subscribe to civil detention