UPDATE: The Karnes County Commissioners Court voted this week, 3-2, to approve the expansion of the for-profit detention center at 409 Farm-to-Market Road 1144, run by the for profit private prison corporation, GEO, by contract with ICE and paid for by you, taxpayers. WRITE YOUR CONGRESSPEOPLE AND SENATORS AND THE PRESIDENT, WRITE YOUR NEWSPAPERS, ACT TO RELEASE ASYLUM SEEKERS UNLESS THERE IS SOME SPECIFIC REASON TO THINK A SPECIFIC PERSON IS DANGEROUS. (Hint: MOST CHILDREN ARE NOT DANGEROUS.)
The Karnes County Commissioners have had two meetings recently to discuss and take public testimony on the proposal of private prison corporation to double its “civil detention center” at 409 FM 1144 in Karnes City. If you haven’t already done so, read about the first meeting in Melissa Bosque’s article, “Karnes County Debates Family Detention,” in The Texas Observer.
A second public hearing took place on Tuesday, December 9th. Among those who spoke against the expansion on the ninth was Arthur Walter, a GEO employee* and former supervisor who explained that GEO deliberately keeps staffing low to maintain high profits, and that this understaffing causes problems at the detention center. He referred specifically to the MALDEF website post regarding complaint of sexual abuse filed by the law office of Javier Maldonado, the Immigration Rights and Civil Rights Legal Clinics at the University Texas School of Law, and MALDEF on September 30, 2014. See the complaint here.
I don’t know Mr. Walter, but I am sure he did not make the decision to testify lightly. I admire his courage.
This video clip of Arthur Walter’s December 9, 2014 testimony comes to our website courtesy of Matthew Gossage, whose work includes “The Least of These” and “No Sanctuary: Big Business and Family Detention”.
For more about the meeting, check out the Karnes County youtube post of the meeting. The full video is just over three hours long.
Thank you to Karnes County for posting a video of its meeting. Thank you to Matthew Gossage and to Grassroots Leadership for sponsoring Matt’s work, and for its efforts along with those of MALDEF, RAICES, the UT Law School Civil Rights and Immigration Law Clinics, and many others, to prevent the expansion of family detention in Karnes.
Perhaps you, too, will speak up against expanding family detention in Karnes? (Or anywhere?) Write the Karnes County Commissioners and tell them what you think. Also check out the Karnes County Commissioners Court’s Facebook page.
There will be another special meeting of the Karnes County Commissioners on Tuesday, December 16, at 1 p.m.
End Family Detention
* employee, former employee, or employee on administrative leave. Sorry, I don’t know for sure and was not at the meeting. Virginia Raymond