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Immigration Law

Texas Sued for Issuing Child-Care License to Immigration Jail

Madlin Mekelburg, Texas Tribune, May 3, 2016- "A nonprofit organization has sued the Texas Department of Family and Protective Services for issuing a temporary child-care license to an immigration detention facility in Karnes City.  Grassroots Leadership, which opposes for-profit prisons, says the department has no authority to regulate detention centers or prisons and is asking Travis County District Court for a temporary injunction and restraining order to stop the licensing.   "We think both that it is inappropriate and wrong for the state agency to license prisons as childcare facilities," said Bob Libal, executive director of the organization. "They're saying these are child facilities now, after more than a decade of saying that there weren't child care facilities in the detention centers, essentially to help the federal government avoid a lawsuit and to help the federal government enforce harsh immigration policies against children and their moms."  A federal district judge ruled last year that the nearly 2,000 women and children in the Karnes center and a similar facility in Dilley were being held in "deplorable conditions" that violated part of a 1997 settlement called the Flores v. Meese agreement that required undocumented children to be held in places that protect their overall well being. The judge ruled families held in violating facilities should be released as soon as possible. The government has appealed to the U.S. 9th Circuit Court of Appeals."