Imprisoned Immigrant Children Denied Education

Attorney Scott Medlock of the Austin-based Texas Civil Rights Project sent this letter to Taylor school Superintendent Bruce Scott, Williamson County Judge Dan A. Gattis and the T. Don Hutto Residential Center warden demanding that the children held at the "center" be given the seven hours of daily instruction as required by the Texas Education Code.

"As you know, state and federal law requires undocumented immigrant children be provided with educational opportunities equivalent to programs provided to other children," Medlock's letter states, citing a U.S. Supreme Court ruling in Plyler v. Doe.

Schools Superintendent Scott and officials from the Williamson County referred questions to the Immigration and Customs Enforcement Agency. A spokeswoman for that agency said that they were investigating and had no comment.

The T. Don Hutto Residential Center in Taylor, Texas is a for-profit facility owned by Corrections Corporation of America (CCA), a Nashville based company. CCA has a major contract with the federal government to operate Don Hutto as a prison (or modern day concentration camp) for immigrant families. The 512 bed facility, which some refer to as a concentration camp, has been the target of a numerous protests against the practice of incarcerating children. Williamson County receives a "kick-back" for each person imprisoned at Don Hutto.

Local residents and members of Texans United for Families, a coalition of community, civil rights and immigrant rights groups, have expressed outrage about the detention of families and children, saying it is immoral.

Speaking as a mother and as an ACLU attorney, Rebecca Bernhardt, said:

“It horrifies me as a mother to think of what it's like to not be able to watch your kids play outside when they want to or not watch your kids go to school and learn,” she said. “Not only is this a grave human rights violation it is also an incredible waste of taxpayer resources. There are alternative, cheaper ways of handling immigration that have been proven to work just fine as far as getting people to their court hearing.”


  1. Anonymous1/28/2007

    I just quit my job of 9 years with CCA. The T. Don Hutto unit is very well outfitted for families. Each family stays together (Mother, Father and Child) and are offered a variety of other programs. The living conditions are similar to a studio apartment for each family.

    And really ICE doesn't require CCA to educate any detainees in it's custody. The easy way to get this done is to lobby ICE to mandate CCA educate the children.

    Unless ICE mandates it, or there is a GREAT public outcry, CCA won't spend the money on it. That comes from someone who just had a 9 year job with them as a on-the-floor corrections officer.

  2. Anonymous10/16/2011

    If it were such a nice outfit, then why did you quit your job? Let me ask this, would you live their with your wife and children and be able to honestly say that CCA provided for your needs in an honest and repectable manner? CCA, are taking innocent small childre and locking them up, and they can cause us no harm! These very same children are emotionally and psychologicaly being broken down day by day because of the Federal Government! I am outraged to hear that America has concentration camps...not to mention they are kept secret. What else is the Federal Government hidding from it citizens?