All eyes on Texas immigration facilities in struggle to house Central Americans

After Pennsylvania declined to renew the license for a ‘family residential center’ last month, the future of family detention may now depend on Texas.
News Story (Texas)

Tom Dart
February 11, 2016

Tags: Children & Juvenile, Detention Centers, Immigration Process

Organizations mentioned/involved: RAICES (Texas)


Run by private, for-profit companies, two Texas facilities in Dilley and Karnes, near San Antonio, temporarily house families who are about to be deported, in conditions that detainees and advocates have described as traumatic and unsafe. Opened in 2014, they have a combined capacity of over 3,000 people. Those held there have included the 121 immigrants who were detained last month in deportation round-ups that were heavily criticized by activists and Democratic politicians.


Amy Fischer, policy director for Raices, a San Antonio-based legal aid group, said that lawyers have noticed that migrants are being processed more quickly than they were before Gee’s ruling but that the increased speed is not always good news.

When they arrive, asylum-seekers undergo screenings for “credible fear” of persecution or torture to assess the validity of their claims. If they pass the interview, they are usually released while their case slowly winds through the severely backlogged system.