Childcare licensing for Dilley family detention camp halted

Temporary restraining order issued preventing issuance of license

AUSTIN, Texas – A temporary restraining order was issued Wednesday that prevents the Texas Department of Family and Protective Services from issuing a childcare license to the South Texas Family Residential Care Center in Dilley.

The order is in response to a lawsuit filed by Grassroots Leadership to halt childcare licensing of controversial immigrant family detention centers in South Texas.

The center in Dilley and the Karnes County Residential Center had both applied for licenses under lowered standards, adopted under a new regulation, which were implemented by the agency on March 1. The Karnes facility was granted a childcare license on Friday. Wednesday the court blocked licensure of the Dilley center.

The order lasts until May 13, when an application for a temporary injunction will be heard that would indefinitely halt implementation of a Texas regulation that allows Texas childcare licenses for federal immigrant detention facilities near the cities of Dilley and Karnes City.

“Today, we are glad a judge has agreed to halt, at least temporarily, the appalling practice of labeling family prisons as childcare facilities,” Grassroots Leadership Executive Direct Bob Libal said. “Family detention camps are prisons. They are not childcare facilities. DFPS has for a decade refused to regulate these facilities because they do not have authority to do so. The Texas agency has never regulated a facility this large. Yet they came up with a regulation allowing a license in three months. It was not done to protect children, but to protect the Obama Administration’s family detention program, putting children in harm’s way.”