The Texas Department of Family and Protective Services may soon license family detention centers and we need your help to stop it.
These prison-like facilities are unfit to provide fundamental childcare and their conditions are in direct violation of a 1997 court settlement (Flores V. Reno), which defines the standards for the detention, release, and treatment of immigrant families — many of whom seek asylum or an otherwise better quality of life, free from persecution and abuse.
Congressman Ruben Hinojosa is circulating a congressional sign on letter on the issue of licensing of the detention centers to hold children. The deadline for this letter is close of business tomorrow, Thursday. The best way to handle this is for you all to find out who your local member of congress is, call their office and tell them about the sign on letter, and ask them if the member will sign onto Rep. Hinijosa’s letter.
1. Find out your member of congress (search with your zipcode: https://www.house.gov/representatives/find/).
2. Call the D.C. office of that member and say: “Hi, my name is ________, I was calling to ask for the member to sign onto a letter being circulated by the office of Rep. Hinojosa on the possibility of family detention centers being licensed by the Texas Department of Family and Protective Services. I have spent time at these centers, assisting the mothers and children, and know that these are jails and they should not be licensed to hold kids. Will the member sign Rep. Hinojosa’s letter?”
3. Let the office know that they should contact Roberto Haddad at Rep. Hinojosa’s office on this, to learn more or to add their members name. Give them his email as well: Roberto.Haddad@mail.house.gov
4. Send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org letting her know the name of the member you reached out to so that she can follow up with them as well. Amy worked with Roberto to draft the letter they are circulating, so she can help him with the sign-ons.
5. Ask a friend who lives in another district to do the same, this is a great way, without a lot of work, for us to send a strong message on the licensing issue and also to help out locally!
If the office asks any questions about the issue then please answer them to the best of your ability. Here are a few informational resources:
Family Detention 101 – Grassroots Leadership
DOJ Fights Family Detention Ruling – Politico
FACT SHEET – National Immigrant Justice Center
Government Doubles Down On Locking Up Immigrant Mothers and Children – American Immigration Council
Mother’s Day Hunger Strike – Grassroots Leadership
End Family Detention – Lincoln-Goldfinch Law Blog
Lawyers, remember that you are an expert on this issue as you have worked with the women directly. Use your experience and tell the office why you think they should add their name to this.
The folks at Grassroots have filed a lawsuit on this issue and they have a hearing on Friday for an injunction. The government is pushing hard to try to be in compliance around this licensing issue – let’s use our voice to beat them at it!