The T. Don Hutto Family Residential Facility down in Taylor has been getting lots of bad publicity lately, and it's about to get worse. Looks like the converted maximum-security prison used to hold non-Mexican families detained on immigration violations is getting sued: The American Civil Liberties Union is holding a press conference at 10:30 a.m. in Austin tomorrow "to announce the filing of lawsuits on behalf of several children currently detained," the release reads, and "families that have been released from Hutto will appear to describe the inhumane conditions inside the facility." Spokespeople wouldn't release any more details in advance, but the "What" section of the press release mentions "multiple new lawsuits against federal government officials."
Most of the 400 "prisoners" at Hutto are women and children, many of them asylum-seekers waiting for their cases to be heard. While Immigration and Customs Enforcement spokespeople describe the place as a family-friendly facility that allows loved ones to stay together, critics and people who have been released from the building say it's nothing more than a jail. The son of a Palestinian family that recently made international headlines after being held there for three months told reporters that he and his family, who live in Richardson, were forced to sleep together in 8-by-8-foot cells with small windows. ICE maintains the children are treated well and given six hours of education each day. Nothing like a stack of litigation to help sort things out. --Megan Feldman