#EndFamilyDetention Legal Brigade Converges on Dilley Family Residential Center
May 12, 2015
Law students from across the country converge to fight for the freedom of mothers the week of Mother's Day
DILLEY, Tex. – For the week of Mother's Day, one of the largest volunteer legal brigades arrives in Dilley, Texas to defend the rights of children and their mothers detained in the nation's largest immigrant detention center. More than 25 law student volunteers from Lewis & Clark Law School, Columbia University Law School and Yale Law School converge on the South Texas Family Residential Center to provide legal support to work for the freedom of the hundreds of children and their mothers currently detained at the facility. They are volunteers with the CARA Family Detention Pro Bono Project.
"The ongoing detention of children to deter their mothers from seeking asylum is dishonorable," says Jamie Trinkle, a third year Lewis & Clark law student and organizer with Enlace and the Private Prison Divestment Campaign. "On Mother's Day and everyday, these women refugees are detained with their children because of their love for their children to seek a safe haven and keep them out of harm's way."
The Corrections Corp of America Family Residential Center is set to expand to a capacity of 2,400 by June 1. It will become the largest detention center in the United States, and is designed to exclusively hold mothers and children. CCA lost its only other family detention contract in 2009 after advocates exposed abuse and conditions faced by women and children inside the T. Don Hutto Family Residential Center.
“It’s criminal that Corrections Corp of America is essentially earning a bounty by detaining children. Every child detained is profit for CCA," says Elora Mukherjee, director of Columbia Law School’s Immigrants’ Rights Clinic. "After the role of CCA in lobbying for the detention bed quota was recently exposed, we should seek to end this policy that will allow two for-profit prison companies, both with long records of abuse, to make millions by holding mothers and children to satisfy a full 10% of the detention bed quota they lobbied for. Family detention and the quota must be ended immediately.”
"Every 45 days, 480 more women and children will be detained at Dilley, until they reach 2400 or until the detention facility is shut down." says Conchita Cruz, a second year law student in the Worker and Immigrant Rights Advocacy Clinic at Yale Law School. "Until we end family detention, the women and children detained here in Dilley need the continued support of as many pro bono lawyers and advocates as possible in order to get out of detention and fight their immigration cases. Without due process and legal representation, these women and their children are likely to be deported back to countries where they face violence, persecution and potentially death."