Washington, DC – Notorious private prison corporation, CoreCivic, is hiring for a “Resident Supervisor” with experience in the “child welfare field working with children or adolescents” for the “South Texas Family Residential Center” in Dilley, Texas as indicated by a job posting on their website. This is the latest development in the administration’s consideration to reinstate family detention, signaling that the White House is taking concrete steps to restart the widely criticized policy.
The South Texas Family Residential Center, also referred to as Dilley, was one of four family detention centers opened by President Obama when his administration dramatically expanded family detention in 2014. The Trump administration continued to use the South Texas Residential Center as it too further expanded the use of family detention and family separation. In a step welcomed by advocates, the Biden administration stopped detaining families in December 2021. However, ICE did not terminate its long-standing contract with the facility. Instead, the South Texas Family Residential Center began to detain single adults. When at capacity, the South Texas Family Residential Center is the largest detention center in the United States. While in operation for family detention, there were reports of foul water and negligent medical treatment, with hospitals confirming that children are consistently released with health issues they dubbed “Dilley-ish.” In 2018 a 19-month old girl, Mariee, tragically died after leaving the facility and in 2019 a guard was accused of physically assaulting a 5-year-old.
Members of Congress and immigrant rights advocates have swiftly condemned the administration’s consideration to reinstate family detention and the immigration detention system as a whole as inherently inhumane and unjust. Reacting to this latest development they offered the following statements:
Congressman Jesús “Chuy” García, representing Illinois 4th district, said:
“Family detention is inhumane, unjust, and a violation of the Flores Settlement. It should not be used as a weapon against families who have already gone through a grueling journey to get to the United States. I call on the Biden administration to reject this Trump-era policy that caused so much harm and trauma to children and families.”
Setareh Ghandehari, Advocacy Director at Detention Watch Network, said:
“Immigration detention as a whole is inherently abusive and goes against our deepest values. This recent development, coupled with the Biden administration’s failure to clearly reject the potential return of family detention, is beyond concerning. Families should be able to navigate their immigration cases in community with support services provided and facilitated by local community based groups – never ICE or CBP, enforcement agencies plagued by egregiously poor conditions and a culture of violence that results in system-wide abuses. We demand the administration act on the overwhelming consensus to shut down these detention facilities for good, issue an official policy terminating family detention and to take steps to end the use of immigration detention altogether.”
Mike Ishii, Co-Founder of Tsuru for Solidarity, said:
"We all know that prisons are places of violence and it is well established that family detention sites are not safe for children and that the billions of dollars funneled to the private contractors will not stop the sexual abuse, physical violence or the psychological trauma. This goes against our values as a nation. President Biden campaigned against these failed policies. It was wrong then and it's wrong now. He needs to end family detention once and for all."
Sirine Shebaya, Executive Director at the National Immigration Project, said:
"Family detention is an unconscionable practice that inflicts irreparable harm on children and families. This is a fact that is recognized by legal experts, medical professionals, and even the U.S. government. If the Biden Administration goes through with reinstating family detention, it will betray not only our communities, but also the very principles the administration claimed to espouse when President Biden took office. We urge the administration to remember its promise to create a more compassionate and humane immigration system and to end the use of detention once and for all.”
Detention Watch Network (DWN) is a national coalition of organizations and individuals working to expose and challenge the injustices of the United States’ immigration detention and deportation system and advocate for profound change that promotes the rights and dignity of all persons. Founded in 1997 by immigrant rights groups, DWN brings together advocates to unify strategy and build partnerships on a local and national level to end immigration detention. Visit detentionwatchnetwork.org. Follow on Twitter @DetentionWatch.