Bill that would license immigrant detention centers as childcare facilities passes Texas Senate

May 15, 2017

Credit U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (Department of Homeland Security)

The Texas Senate passed a bill last week that would license immigrant family detention centers as childcare facilities.

As The Texas Observer reports, Senate Bill 1018, which would allow prison firms to skip all the burdensome regulations that other child care facilities must follow, advanced Tuesday on a 20-11 vote.

The bill gives the Department of Family and Protective Services the authority to waive any minimum standards it deems necessary in order to license the facilities, which are used by the federal government to hold mothers and children seeking asylum after fleeing violence in Central America.

Family detention centers can currently only hold children for a few weeks at a time, but the bill would allow the facilities to detain mothers and children for the duration of their asylum cases – something Texas Pediatric Society has can cause depression and anxiety and hinder development in children.  

Advocates of the bill argue that asylum seeking families can be released to live with family or in shelters until their cases are resolved.

The legislation now advances to the Texas House.