SA Current Does T. Don Hutto

Posted in Criminal Justice, Privatization, T. Don Hutto, Had Enough Yet?, Williamson County at 1:59 pm by wcnews

Dave Maass has the story on “Kidmo”, aka TDH, Undocumented Immigrants, Unlicensed Prison. Via this document dump we now know that CCA’s T. Don Hutto facility was exempted form oversight by the Texas Department of Family and Protective Services (DFPS). Although TDH has been exempted form oversight by the SOT, that does not get them around their legal troubles.

Call it Kidmo — a supposedly family-friendly version of the Guantanamo Bay detention center deep in the heart of Texas. While the T. Don Hutto Family Residential Center houses mostly “Other-Than-Mexican” immigrant families instead of suspected terrorists, including more than 200 children from 30 countries, the policy of hide, deny, and dodge civil-rights law is unmistakably familiar.


The lawsuit in question was filed by the American Civil Liberties Union in federal court in March on behalf of 10 children between the ages of three and 16, from six countries. The suit claims a wide array of civil-rights violations at the Hutto facility and a disregard for the 1996 Flores v. Reno settlement, which established rigid and binding requirements for when, where, and how the U.S. government (at the time the Immigration and Naturalization Service, which was restructured in 2003 as ICE under the Department of Homeland Security) may detain non-criminal immigrant minors.

“Almost all of our clients are asylum-seekers, which means their parents fled their countries and in most cases have been found by a trained asylum officer to have a credible fear of persecution if they are returned, which is why they’re in asylum proceedings and not being processed by expedited removal,” said Lisa Graybill, legal director for ACLU of Texas.


ICE assigned the licensing responsibilities to CCA, the U.S.’s largest private prison operator. CCA’s inexperience in residential programs is evident in documents obtained by the Current that show in March 2006 CCA was hoping to receive licensing from the Texas Juvenile Probation Commission and the Texas Youth Commission. Both agencies determined that Hutto was outside their jurisdiction because the detained juveniles had not committed criminal offenses and were foreign nationals. Only as the facility was set to open in May 2006 did CCA finally file paperwork with the proper agency, the Texas Department of Family and Protective Services. However, instead of applying for a license, CCA requested and received a licensing exemption, which Sparks pointed out does not satisfy Flores.

“The Court finds it inexplicable that Defendants have spent untold amounts of time, effort, and taxpayer dollars to establish the Hutto family-detention program, knowing all the while that Flores is still in effect, without either promulgating final regulations or going back to the Flores court for clarification and/or modification of the requirements,” Sparks wrote. “Nevertheless, the fact is that the Defendants have not sought any such clarification or modifications and clearly have no intent to do so.”

Children who have done nothing wrong are left to languish in a prison facility that has no oversight, and is in violation of federal law. And now this, Immigrant Center Employee Fired For Detainee Contact.

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