Local Republicans, ICE, CCA Won’t Attend Forum On T. Don Hutto

Posted in T. Don Hutto, Taylor, Williamson County at 11:55 am by wcnews

Patricia Ruland at the Austin Chronicle is reporting on the fact that all the local Republicans, along with officials from ICE and CCA, that were invited will not attend next week’s forum, (EOW’s initial report here), on T. Don Hutto in Taylor, Officials’ Silence Speaks Loudly at Hutto Forum. Billed as an attempt to “explore the many and diverse aspects of this particular facility-and the future expansion of similar facilities as a part of our immigration policy”, there was great hope to finally bring together both sides and have “..a dignified and serious exploration of issues relating to this most important controversy”. But as the AusChron points out, it looks like that won’t be the case:

A snub by authorities – invited to participate in a public forum to field concerns about the T. Don Hutto Residential Center in Taylor – has fueled the ire of immigrant rights panelists who will convene this week at the Georgetown Public Library. Funded by U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement, operated by the for-profit Corrections Corporation of America, and administered by Williamson Co. Commissioners Court, the T. Don Hutto facility has been excoriated the world over for incarcerating noncriminal immigrant families – including infants – awaiting deportation decisions, as part of the U.S. Department of Homeland Security’s professed “endgame” strategy to expel virtually all undocumented immigrants by 2012.


Immigration Reform Effort founder MaryEllen Kersch, former mayor of Georgetown, conceived the forum to allow the public to confront Hutto authorities. However, as Kersch told the Chronicle, a three-hour conversation with U.S. Rep. John Carter’s aide, Jonas Miller, was futile. “Miller related that the congressman is completely supportive of Hutto in every aspect,” Kersch said. Another lengthy meeting with WilCo Judge Dan Gattis offered hope. Though afraid of an “ambush,” according to Kersch, Gattis “was still open to a discussion.” Sweetening the pot, Kersch offered to scrap the “pro” and “con” format and screen audience questions. Still, no dice – Gattis would skip the forum and stand by ICE and CCA, whose officials sent apologies that they wouldn’t attend.


As disappointing as it is that Hutto authorities refuse to face the music – and take responsibility for reported abuses – by attending the panel, Immigration Reform Effort panelists believe the show must go on. “Officials’ refusal to even talk about this situation … looks a lot like a guilty admission of wrongdoing,” said TCRP’s Krause. “Many issues raised are going unanswered. This discussion is way past due.”

The public forum is scheduled to take place Wednesday, Sept. 24, 7pm, at the Georgetown Public Library, 402 W. Eighth, in Georgetown.

Yes it does make them look guilty and intolerant. But it’s a bad year for the GOP, and they’re not about to be caught in public explaining their bad policies.

1 Comment »

  1. remerson said,

    September 18, 2008 at 11:02 pm

    Seems like the Republicans have one response to getting “caught” with their truths down; refuse to respond. Palin has yet to hold the ceremonial/traditional post-pick press conference. Bush is hiding out behind the rose garden. Ogden speaks in tied-tongue. Carter, Papa Gattis mouth support in private but won’t do so in public where they may have to give reasons.

    Government of, by, and for the people seems to be on an extended vacation in the land of the free and home of the brave. (Ah, but they do pledge allegiance to the flag!)

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