Hundreds Released From TX Family-Detention Center

In a victory for asylum-seeking families, more than 460 mothers and children were released from a family-detention center in San Antonio over the weekend after a court ruled against the private-prison companies in charge of the facility. The Karnes and Dilley Family Detention Center has effectively lost its license and detained families were hurriedly moved after Friday’s ruling. The center has been embroiled in scandal over a decision by Immigration and Customs Enforcement to ban crayons for children at the center, a move many saw as needlessly cruel. The crayon ban prompted a petition with thousands of signatures in favor of undoing the measure, as advocates argued ICE was putting the profits of a private company before the well-being of children. On Friday, Judge Karin Crump of the 250th District Court invalidated the state regulation allowing the center to be licensed, effectively shutting it down. Crump sided with local advocates and detained families, and the plaintiffs, who said Karnes and Dilly Family Detention Center and other institutions like it were akin to prisons, not child-care facilities. The Texas Department of Family and Protective Services is no longer allowed to issue licenses to family-detention centers controlled by ICE. The released families released were moved to the care of Casa RAICES, a nonprofit agency that offers free legal services to immigrants.