Tuesday, June 9, 2009

LULAC Returns CCA Sponsorship

Elaine Wolf of the San Antonio Current blogs about LULAC's relationship with Corrections Corporation of America, the private prison corporation that runs TDH: (read the full piece)

As a growing coalition of activists prepares for what they hope will be the most high-profile protest yet at the immigrant-family detention center in Taylor, Texas, fellow activists are challenging LULAC over sponsorship monies received from the private company that runs the prison. ...

LULAC National Treasurer Jaime Martinez, a longtime San Antonio labor activist, says that when he was made aware of the sponsorship, he and President Rosa Rosales immediately initiated the return of the $10,000 that year.

"We don't want any sponsorships from CCA," said Martinez, calling the money "tainted."

LULAC National Executive Director Brent Wilkes confirms Martinez's account, and says he believes the CCA money was returned in 2007, the last year that LULAC accepted sponsorship money from CCA for its conference. Previous years' funds were not returned, he said, in part because they were probably already spent.

Prior to the Hutto conflict, says Wilkes, LULAC found many things to like about CCA, including a program the corporation initiated to give Mexican Nationals who would face deportation upon release from prison the opportunity to obtain the equivalent of a GED. Wilkes says he believes the CCA sponsorship money was for a Latino law-enforcement awards breakfast held at the conference.

"But when we found out about the Hutto facility," Wilkes said, "we returned the funds."

"We felt very strongly that we didn't want to be associated with that," he added.