Call to Close “Deplorable” Private Detention Center for Immigrants Made, as Expansion Planned


Immigrant justice groups and human rights groups are demanding the Obama administration close a recently converted immigrant detention center in Karnes, Texas. The center incarcerates 530 children and families and is owned and operated by the private prison corporation GEO Group.

The call to close the Karnes detention center comes as Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) officials recently confirmed plans to build a new immigrant-family detention center in Dilley, Texas, that is expected to hold 2,400 refugees arriving from Central America.

The Karnes County Civil Detention Center, about 50 miles southeast of San Antonio, was converted this summer into a private immigrant detention center holding children and families fleeing poverty and violence from Central American countries. The jail is part of an expansion of immigrant family detention centers across the state, facilitated by the Obama administration as a response to the refugee influx. The detention center was originally opened in 2012 to detain adult men.