Pro-Illegal Immigrant Groups Fight Texas Detention Centers Licensing

Detention Facility
File Photo: Breitbart Texas/Bob Price

Pro-illegal immigration groups are fighting Texas state agencies who are seeking to allow two family detention centers to be licensed as residential childcare facilities.

The rule was proposed by state officials after a California federal judge determined that an ICE (U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement) policy violated a 1997 settlement by detaining females with family in unlicensed residential centers,  the San Antonio Express News reported .

The reason for the licensing requirements is to ensure oversight by a state child welfare department. In July, Breitbart Texas reported that a California federal Judge ruled that ICE had violated a federal court decision. The California judge found that ICE was violating the court’s orders on how juveniles in the custody of ICE are supposed to be treated.

The Breitbart Texas article reported that the California court ruling was in danger of setting free more than 1,700 women and children who were being held by the U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS) in facilities in Dilley, Texas, and Karnes County, Texas. The case opinion struck down the Obama administration’s policy regarding the handling of Central American illegal immigrant families and unaccompanied minors.

The proposed licensing rule would apply to the two Texas facilities – the Dilley South Texas Residential center, and the Karnes County Residential Center.

These centers are run by private companies, but if passed, the centers would be licensed by and receive oversight by HHSC and the Texas Department of Family and Protective Services (DFPS).

The assistant commissioner for child care licensing at DFPS, Paul Morris, was reported to say that it was not the agency’s decision to have the women and children in these privately run facilities. The department seeks only to have the authority to investigate any abuse or neglect, and to do periodic inspections in these facilities.

The rule being proposed and the public hearing on the issue comes at a time when approximately 800 or more unaccompanied children (UAC’s) from Central America will be transferred to North Texas in Ellis and Rockwall counties from these facilities, as reported by Breitbart Texas. The transfer is necessary because of the wave of children who are being housed on the border.

Lana Shadwick is a contributing writer and legal analyst for Breitbart Texas. She has served as an associate judge and prosecutor. Follow her on Twitter @LanaShadwick2