Friday, October 31, 2008

The best laid plans... are posted on blogs at the last minute:

From Antonio Diaz, Texas Indigenous Council:

Native people celebrate death as it is a part of the circle of life, there is not need to fear physical death, the death of innocence on the other hand is a sad thing indeed.  We will be going to Taylor on Saturday, November 1 to recognize the Death of Innocence of the Children Detained at T. Don Hutto Prison.  November 1st is know as "Dia do los Inocentes," Dia do los Muertes from November 1st to the 2nd.  This loss of innocence due to incarceration because of greed of private prison corporations like Corrections Corp. of Ameria must be addressed and the policy of fear and division that allows for rampant greed to dictate immoral immigration legislation much come to an end.  Ending the Catch and Release program will be the first step to bring justice into immigration reform.  Join us if you are able: 6-8 pm, Saturday, November 1st at the T. Don Hutto Residential Center.  For more info, call Antonio Diaz at (210) 396-9805.

Monday, October 13, 2008

Bill to Improve Detention Conditions Introduced to the House

On October 3, Lucille Royball-Alard (D-California) introduced the Immigration Oversight and Fairness Act (H.R. 7255), a bill that would reform detention conditions for the 300,000+ detained in the U.S. each year. This bill seeks to set enforceable minimum standards for all in detention and sets more specific standards for unaccompanied children and detained women.

This bill followed the Protect Citizens and Residents from Unlawful Raids and Detention Act (S. 3594) introduced by Senators Menendez (D- NJ) and Ted Kennedy (D- MA). This bill takes aim at the Department of Homeland Security / Immigration and Customs Enforcement raids that have hit the headlines in the past few months.

And earlier this year, Lofgren (D-CA) introduced the Detainee Basic Medical Care Act (H.R. 5950), which responded to the 82 detainee deaths in detention highlighted by the New York Times and Washington Post.

Why are these bills important? ICE has developed Family Residential Standards, which we have covered on this blog, and Adult Detention Standards. These serve as guidance documents for the government and non-governmental contractors that run detention facilities. Yet, the only real oversight remains internal to ICE-- that is, ICE inspects ICE facilities. The issue of internal oversight arose during the Hutto lawsuit, and the government repeatedly argued that there was no need for external inspections. While the Hutto Settlement contained court oversight, those of you familiar with the Hutto Settlement will remember that this will end in August 2009, when the settlement expires.

The bills above are Congress' efforts to give these standards "teeth," and hopefully set the bar a little higher for the treatment of detainees.

Numerous organizations have published statements, press releases, and reports on these bills. A few of them are:
Check back for more information as these bills move through Congress...

Wednesday, October 8, 2008

News from Europe: French Court Decides that Family Detention Violates EU Human Rights

A Court of Appeals in Rennes, France, ruled October 1 that detaining families with small children violates Article 3 of the European Convention on Human Rights. As you'll see below, the court ruled that the removal of small children from 'the normal course of life' to the isolation of a detention center--even where it is prepared for families--is inhumane treatment. The court also ruled that the suffering caused by detention is disproportionate to the offense. Also note that the maximum detention period is 32 days. If only in the U.S....

(Dr. Maria F. Perez Solla translated this decision for the Detention Watch Network listserv.)

Jurisprudence (Rennes) : Annulation d’une prolongation de rétention pour une famille avec un enfant

Cour d’appel de Rennes (271/2008) du 29 septembre 2008, qui annule la prolongation de rétention sur l’article 3 de la Convention Européenne des Droits de l’Homme :

« Considering that the means employed constitute a violation of Article 3 of the European Convention on Human Rights, that, asserts that nobody can be subjected to inhuman or degrading treatment. As to fall within this provision, bad treatment should reach a minimum of seriousness, considering the whole circumstances of the case, in particular, the nature and the context of the treatment, the duration, the physical and mental effects, as well as the sex, age, and health condition of the victim ;

Considering that the State indicated that the placement of the spouses S. and their children at the detention center Saint-Jacques de la Lande, counting with facilities especially prepared for receiving families, does not constitute inhuman treatment and that due to his age, the child, who has never been separated from his mother, does not suffer psychological trauma in the measure that he can not realize his situation ;

Even in the case that there is a space especially reserved to receive families, the detention center remains a closed place where foreigners are retained, considering their isolation from French territory, for a duration of maximum 32 days; that, in this particular case, the fact of keeping, in such a place, a young family mother, her husband, and their one year old baby, constitutes inhuman treatment in the sense of Article 3 of the European Convention of Human Rights, because :

- - First, the child is suddenly subtracted, since his small age, from a normal and appropriate course of life: his parents' house - and is imposed, even temporarily, life conditions completely irregular for a one year old baby ;

- - Secondly, the big suffering, moral and psychical, caused to the mother and the father, suffering that, due to its nature, importance and duration
(the renewal of detention requested by the authority of 15 days), reaches the level of seriousness required as to apply the above-mentioned text.

Considering, moreover, that the suffering caused is manifestly disproportional to the goal persecuted, that is, to conduct the deportation of the family S., moreover, when those interested count with housing in Vitré...".
October 1st 2008

Saturday, October 4, 2008

New: Homeland Guantanamos: The Untold Story of Immigrant Detention in the U.S.

New website on immigrant detention! Launched by Breakthrough, a human rights organization, the website inaugurates a campaign to end detention in the U.S.

The website guides you through an (mock) undercover investigation of the death of Boubar Bah, a 52-year-old man from Guinea who passed away under ambiguous circumstances while in detention.

Besides the interactive tools, the website includes great information about detention issues in the U.S., ways to take action, and education tools. Check it out...

Thursday, October 2, 2008

Austin-America Statesman: Human Rights Group Investigates Hutto facility

Never far from the spotlight, Hutto returns again. In today's Austin-American Stateman, Juan Castillo reported that the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights, a group within the Organization of American States (OAS), is in Texas investigating detention, border, and human rights issues. As Castillo reports, the human rights attorney, Denise Gilman, and the UT Immigration Law Clinic requested an investigation last year. For the story, click here.

To learn more about the OAS investigation of Hutto, read this report submitted to the OAS by Gilman and the UT Immigration Law Clinic. The report details family detention policy and the human rights problems documented there. A nice, short backgrounder on the subject...

Melissa Del Bosque, from the Texas Observer, blogged about the border wall investigation, as well.

Wednesday, October 1, 2008

TDH now has following function!

We are happy to announce this blog now has a following gadget! What this means is it's now even easier to stay up to date on what's happening at Hutto and with family detention. By signing up to "follow" this blog, you'll receive an email notification every time this blog is updated (Don't worry- it's super low-volume).

To become a "follower", look at the sidebar on the right. It's the third down, underneath Upcoming Events. Click on "Follow this blog" and they'll take you through it!