Texas immigration lockdowns holding some families too long

Immigration facility designed to handle children
Bunk beds are set up in an immigration detention center that's been transformed to handle the influx of immigrant children. (KXAN Photo).

AUSTIN (AP) — Several families have been held in Texas immigration lockdowns far longer than federal law allows, even though state lawmakers adjourned without passing legislation to circumvent the rules.

The proposals would have allowed the state to license the facilities as childcare providers, a requirement for anywhere housing minors longer than 20 days. Immigrant welfare advocates celebrated the failure of the bills, which they said would have caused further physical and psychological harm to children.

One Afghan family seeking asylum has now been detained since December.

The Texas licensing bill was conceived by lobbyists for the for-profit prison company GEO Group.

It would have allowed the state health department to waive minimum childcare licensing standards for GEO’s Karnes Residential Facility and for another, larger private prison operator.

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