Wednesday, December 05, 2007

America's Family Prison

-- by Dave

I've written previously on the ongoing travesty that is the T. Don Hutto Detention Center just north of Austin, Texas -- a place where we are realizing Michelle Malkin's dreams and incarcerating families, including citizen children, because their parents are "illegal aliens."

The conditions inside the facility are something of a mystery, since the Department of Homeland Security has done its utmost to keep outside observers out.

But thanks to the blogosphere, we're able now to get at least a small window, thanks to the brave souls publishing the new T. Don Hutto blog (subtitled "America's Family Prison" -- a name that should send a collective shudder of recognition through the rest of us).

It looks like a terrific resource. A quick gander shows that it's already made public at least one atrocity:
An 8-year-old girl was separated from her pregnant mother and left behind for four days at a detention center established to hold immigrant families together while they await outcomes to their cases.

U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement officials say they had to transfer the Honduran woman because she twice resisted attempts to deport her and was potentially disruptive. ICE spokesman Carl Rusnok said guards and ICE staff watched over the child after her mother was removed from the T. Don Hutto Family Residential Facility, a former Central Texas prison where non-criminal immigrant families are held while their cases are processed.

But others are critical of the agency's handling of the case, saying it put the girl at risk and is yet another example of why the controversial facility should be closed.

"Here, it's the government itself that has the custody of this child and then leaves her without proper supervision," said Denise Gilman, who oversees the Immigration Clinic at the University of Texas School of Law, which provides legal services to Hutto detainees. "We certainly don't want to see it happen again."

The 28-year-old mother and child lost a bid for asylum and are back in Honduras. But Immigration Clinic attorneys plan to file a complaint with the federal government.
"There is something to complain about, because we're talking about a child's welfare," said Michelle Brane, director of the detention and asylum program at the Women's Commission for Refugee Women and Children. "This is a perfect example of why family detention just doesn't work."

Moreover, regarding the mother, one commenter noted:
I don't blame her for "putting up a fight". She had been brutally abused by her husband in Honduras. She was also gang raped by thugs - she escaped Honduras seeking a safe place for herself and her daughter. And when she was told that she lost her case...she did the only thing left to her...she committed an act of civil disobedience... she fought back.

Nativist immigration policy -- with its emphasis on deportation, regardless of the human consequences -- is being lived out by real people in this place. Hopefully, at least now we can begin peering inside a little and letting the rest of the world know.

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