AAS Does T. Don Hutto

Posted in T. Don Hutto, Williamson County at 7:03 pm by wcnews

It’s a great article by Juan Castillo, Familial bonds. Here’s how it begins:

Conversations with her mother and the son she left behind in Somalia because she feared for her life there. Visits to her grandmother’s tranquil vegetable garden. Walks past her grandparents’ house on her way home; they were always waiting to greet her.

These recurring images filled Bahjo Hosen’s dreams as she slept — with her 2-year-old son, Mustafa, curled up next to her — on a narrow metal bunk bed in a roughly 8-foot-by-12-foot cell with an open toilet and sink in the T. Don Hutto Residential Center.

On most mornings about 5:30, a guard’s rap on the door jarred Bahjo awake, drawing a dark curtain on her dreams and beginning another day of confinement while she and Mustafa pursued asylum in the U.S. immigration system’s slow-grinding bureaucracy.

“I never dreamed I would be in jail,” said Hosen, who fled a Somalian clan’s death threats, only to be locked up in the immigrant detention center in Taylor.

The former state prison is in the bull’s-eye of a growing controversy over a federal policy that requires families like Bahjo and Mustafa to be confined on immigration violations while they await outcomes of their asylum petitions or deportation. The waits can drag on for days, months, sometimes years.

The controversy raises two questions: Is it inhumane to confine children and families for running afoul of immigration laws? And are there better alternatives than locking people up?

Critics answer yes to both.

Read the whole thing.

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