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family detention center

Texas Ruling May Allow Licensing of Migrant Family Detention

By Peek & Toland on February 13, 2019

The 3rd Texas Court of Appeals recently overturned a lower court ruling that could allow the state to formally issue child-care licenses to two detention centers in the South Texas cities of Dilley and Karnes that house immigrant families. Since the centers are not licensed child-care facilities, the Flores settlement, a landmark court decision restricting the detention of immigrant children, requires the government to release immigrant children from them within 20 days of their detention, which also often resulted in the simultaneous release of their parents. These two detention facilities comprise most of the detention space available for immigrant families at the present time, or about 3,500 people.

The state of Texas had attempted to provide child-care licenses to these facilities via a special regulation shortly after they opened in 2016, but the ruling of an Austin judge halted those efforts. That ruling was based on the fact that the regulation would have allowed the facilities to function as licensed child-care facilities without them having to comply with statewide minimum facility standards with which all other licensed child-care facilities must comply. This includes standards that prohibit children from sharing bedrooms with unrelated adults.

Texas Ruling May Allow Licensing of Migrant Family Detention

The appellate court now has overturned that decision and dismiss the suit. The court based its decision on its finding that the advocacy group Grassroots Leadership and various parents who formerly were detained in the facility had no legal standing to challenge the decisions of the Texas Health and Human Services Commission, which is the state agency that issues child-care licenses. Therefore, the appellate court dismissed the entire lawsuit, ensuing that the regulation cannot be challenged.

At Peek & Toland, we care about helping you obtain through your immigration problems. We will focus our efforts on advocating on your behalf and representing your interests throughout the immigration process. Our knowledgeable immigration lawyers know the best strategies for gathering documentation to support your goals. Allow us to handle your immigration law case by sitting down with us today and discussing your situation.

Posted in Immigration

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Senators Seek Information on Medical Care of Detained Immigrants

By Peek & Toland on October 23, 2017

As more undocumented immigrants are detained, concerns have spiked over the standard and adequacy of medical care being given to detained immigrants.

Now more U.S. senators are becoming concerned about conditions at immigrant detention centers, reported VOA News.

In a letter to John Kelly, the Homeland Security Secretary, 12 senators — 11 Democrats, plus independent Bernie Sanders of Vermont — complained they received complaints about poor medical services for detained immigrants.

Hundreds of thousands of foreign nationals pass through immigrant detention facilities every year. Many of them are in Texas.

The lawmakers said they were concerned after they heard numerous reports of detainees being hospitalized due to delays in treatment, or because they failed to receive needed medication. The politicians said they were alarmed about the lack of treatment plans for people with serious mental illness after they were released from detention facilities.

Concern over medical care of detained immigrants

medical care of detained immigrants is under scrutiny

Fears Over Medical Care of Detained Immigrants

The Senators are worried by reports of deaths of undocumented immigrants while in the custody of Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE).

In their letter, they requested Kelly to respond within 30 days, detailing how newly arrived detainees receive treatment at the centers and how those who are released are evaluated to ensure continuity of care.

The senators are also seeking more information about the handling of detainees’ health complaints including how medical needs such as dialysis and blood transfusions are dealt with and whether the centers are providing child wellness and preventative care.

Deaths of immigrants at detention centers have been an issue of concern for years. We recently detailed the case of Jose Jaramillo who collapsed at an infamous correctional center in New Mexico. He was incarcerated for illegally entering the country.

He never fully recovered and died a few years later of complications. A report in the Guardian described a systemic failure to give him medical care. An undiagnosed infection turned to sepsis and later to pneumococcal meningitis.

More recent deaths of immigrants in custody have alarmed the politicians. In the VOA News report Theo Oshiro of Make the Road New York referenced troubling accounts from community members of dangerous and unhealthy conditions in many immigrant detention facilities.

Oshiro said eight people have died in ICE custody since last October. Seven of them were being held in private, for-profit detention centers.

If you or a loved one is being held in a detention center, you have rights. An experienced Austin family immigration lawyer can help you. Please call us at (512) 474-4445.

Posted in Cancellation of Removal, Immigration

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Legal Ruling over Family Detention Centers Leads to Release of Immigrants

By Peek & Toland on April 10, 2017

Our Austin immigration lawyers have written in the past about the ongoing legal battle over the housing of women and children in Texas family detention centers.

Recently, hundreds of women and children were released from Texas family detention centers after an important legal case concerning childcare facilities at the centers.

The releases were greeted as a victory for immigrant rights advocates, who argue that it’s inhumane and not necessary to lock up undocumented mothers and kids seeking asylum in the U.S.

The Texas lawsuit focused narrowly on the issues of emergency rules to allow the facilities to meet Texas’ child care licensing standards.

Family detention centers

Family detention centers include women and children

Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) released more than 460 mothers and children from family detention centers in Dilley and Karnes. Austin Judge Karin Crump ruled against allowing the two privately owned facilities a state license allowing them to function as child care facilities. Her decision was appealed.

Grassroots Leadership brought the state lawsuit. On the back of the ruling immigration supporters argued there was nothing preventing the release of the remaining families.

The ruling was made in the final days of the Obama administration. Some commentators believe immigration detention centers will be increasingly used under the Trump administration.

Most of the mothers and children at the centers are from Central American countries. They are often incarcerated for months as their cases proceed in immigration court, reported the Huffington Post.

Some of the women and children are released to sponsors, often family members, so as immigration authorities are aware of their location.

ICE denied the releases of women and children in December were related to the court ruling.

Spokesman Carl Rusnok said ICE is reviewing the ruling as it relates to an operational license for the South Texas Family Residential Center. The center remains operational.

The Dilley and Karnes detention centers would be required to make sweeping changes to qualify as child care facilities under Texas law. The centers hold many families together in a single unit. The housing of children with adults they are not related to is a prohibited practice in Texas childcare facilities because of the abuse risk.

Also, under Texas law, the children’s presence at licensed child care facilities is optional, meaning they could leave. However, children are not permitted to leave the detention centers at Karnes or Dilley unless an immigration judge or ICE releases them.

Our Austin, Texas cancellation of removal lawyers can help you if you are fighting deportation. Call us at (512) 474-4445.

Posted in Cancellation of Removal, Immigration Reform

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