A Third Family Detention Center May be Coming to South Texas

Jim Wells County, near Corpus Christi, is in talks to turn a shuttered nursing home into a facility for unauthorized immigrants.

By Alexandra HartJune 9, 2016 11:05 am|

A state judge issued a temporary injunction blocking the state from licensing two detention centers in South Texas as child care centers. These Family Detention centers are facilities that house women and children who have entered the country illegally.

Now, according to the Corpus Christi Caller Times, officials in nearby Jim Wells County are reported to be in talks with federal immigrations officials and a private contractor about converting a shuttered nursing home into what would be a third South Texas family detention center – though it isn’t quite clear who’s pushing for it or why it’s needed. Officials in Jim Webb County are working with ICE and a private contractor, Serco Inc.

Bob Libal, executive director of Grassroots Leadership, says so far, there isn’t much more information out there about what’s going on with this new facility. They’ve been fighting the child care licenses at the other two South Texas facilities in Karnes City and Dilley.

“Our understanding is that there may be an request for proposal out there,” Libal says. “It has not been released publicly, as far as I know, but frankly that doesn’t surprise me. Immigration and Customs Enforcement is a notoriously non-transparent agency.”

A public hearing this evening in Jim Wells County will address the proposal. Libel says his organization will be talking to the county officials about the plans.

“We’ll be providing the local commissioners court information on what family detention looks like, they should certainly be informed of this before they move ahead,” Libal says.

Meanwhile, Libal says that their case against the Texas Department of Family and Protective Services will continue.

“We were granted a temporary injunction last week prohibiting state from giving a child care license to the Dilley detention center,” he says. “Our final hearing will be in September on whether or not the state has the authority to grant licenses to these kinds of facilities at all.”