In the Season of Giving, Ask them to Stop Taking Children to Prison

News from Jay Johnson-Castro, Sr.

In this period of giving…

Can we share a few hours out of our holiday season and show solidarity with imprisoned immigrant children?

Border Ambassadors and Freedom Ambassadors endorse the following notice and attached flier for a special toy and gift drive and vigil for the imprisoned innocent women and children in the T. Don Hutto “for profit” prison…

Hutto is a money laundering facility between Corrections Corporation of America (CCA) and the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) and Immigrations and Customs Enforcement (ICE)…with Williamson County Commissioners Court (WCCC) as the money laundering mechanism.

No where in the world, let alone in America, should a child be locked up or forced to forfeit his or her freedom for a 8′ x 12′ prison cell. Perhaps, under a new President “Change we can believe in” will restore “Liberty and Justice for all”.

We must press on with our demand that the end of the era of the current Administration’s immoral practice of imprisoning innocent children and their mothers…for profit.

In solidarity with the women and children imprisoned in Hutto and all those who have fought for two years to free them…

Jay
Border Ambassasors
Freedom Ambassadors


Hutto Toy Delivery and Vigil to End Family Detention

Saturday, December 20th, 3-5pm, T. Don Hutto Detention Center (1001 Welch, Taylor, TX)

Please join organizations and individuals from across the state in the third annual December vigil to end family detention, Saturday, December 20th, from 3-5pm. Since May 2006, immigrant families with small children have been jailed in the facility while awaiting asylum or immigration hearings. The prison has been criticized by human rights organizations worldwide as an inappropriate facility for children and their families. Organizers will deliver more than 500 toys, books, and children’s clothes to the facility in time for the holiday season. Toys should be in their original packaging and not be on any recall-list to be accepted into the facility. Contact: Bob at (512) 971-0487 or blibal@grassrootsleadership.org

Caravaning information:

Austin caravan will leave PODER building at 2604 E. Cesar Chavez at 2pm for the Hutto detention center.

San Antonio caravan will leave from the Cesar Chavez Learning Center,1414 E. Commerce Street, San Antonio. Arrive at 11am to get organized; the caravan will leave at noon. Please contact Carlos De Leon at 210-627-3647 for more information.

Houston caravan will be leaving from the parking lot of Fedex Kinko’s (Magnum exit, Hwy 290, Houston) at around 10:30. Meet up at 9:30 if you would like to make posters for the vigil. Contact Maria Elena Castellanos at castellanoslaw1 [at] gmail [dot] com for more information

Endorsed by: Texans United for Families, Grassroots Leadership, WilCo Family Justice Alliance, Austin Immigrant Rights Coalition, Border Ambassadors, CodePink Austin, Texas Indigenous Council, San Antonio Brown Berets.


WCCC to vote on T Don Hutto Contract—12/23/2008

Williamson County Judge Gattis announced this morning (12/16/08) that the vote on the proposed renewal of the contract(s) with CCA/DHS to operate T Don Hutto Detention Facility will take place on December 23 at the Williamson County Commissioners Court’s weekly meeting.

After that announcement, several citizens spoke against the renewal, and WCCC was reminded that:

Putting families in prison for infractions comparable to running a stop sign is “inappropriate.”

The lack of oversight and assurance of humane treatment for families held at T Don Hutto is alarming, and contradicted by our national sense of right and wrong, —and does serious emotional damage to the young prisoners who end up gaining American citizenship.

Communities that locate a prison in their borders suffer immense long-term economic damage because “clean” economic growth avoids them. The uglier the facility, the greater the damage.

There are alternatives to locking up babies and families, and they are proven to be less expensive– and just as effective. But they provide no profit for the prison industry.
So, between now and the eve of Christmas Eve, it is essential that those of us who oppose this corrupt contract:

1. Contact anyone in the county hierarchy who might be able to help us; certainly the WCCC members, but also anyone who could talk to them with good audience.–minister, friends, family members, etc. WCCC contact info can be found at http://www.wiliamson-county.org.

2. Write letters to the editor to the Williamson County Sun, Austin American-Statesman, Austin Chronicle, or other newspaper; contact your local TV affiliate station’s news department. Ask for folks to join our effort on the blogs and email lists.

3. Consider getting a few other supporters to go with you to visit with your Williamson County commissioner–or go on your own; small settings can work far better than large, public ones because the commissioner needn’t be defensive of the issue.

4. Come to Saturday, December 20 vigil in front of the Hutto facility from 3:00 to 5:00 p.m. to show support and generate more.

5. Attend the December 23 WCCC meeting that starts at 9:30 a.m.; come early ( CCA often tries to pack the place before it starts), bring others, and seriously consider speaking. Write a three-minute speech to deliver.

The new faces and voices who have recently come out against the contract renewal have had a huge impact. We can’t lapse now; let’s celebrate Christmas with the gift of an end to imprisoning innocent families and babies in Williamson County —-in Texas—-in the United States of America.

Please stay in touch if you see a road-block or an in-road; we need to maximize our chances in these final few days! My email is maryellenkersch@verizon.net

MaryEllen Kersch

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