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Border & Immigration

On Fronteras: Prison Makes Big Profits Housing Detainees, Refugee Health Clinic Provides Needed Help

Courtesy Evangelicals for Social Action

This week on Fronteras:   

  • How detaining Central American women and children helped generate big business for the corporate prison industry.
  • A high profile police arrest case in Texas spurs a criminal justice reform bill.
  • Now that Texas has pulled out of the federal refugee resettlement program, San Antonio has the largest student run clinic reaching out to help.
  • 150 years ago, a man was born who helped shape Fort Worth. William Madison McDonald was a banker, a politician, and a leader in the city’s African American community and Texas’ first black millionaire. 

Prison Company Makes Record Profits From Detainee Lockups
In the tiny city of Dilley, Texas, this year has turned out to be a gold mine for the corporate prison industry.  But for city itself, it’s a different story.  President Obama expanded use of family detention camps a couple of years ago to include lockups for thousands of Central American women and children seeking asylum at the Southern border.  Since then, private prison giant CoreCivic has put up record profits running a 2,400-bed family jail in Dilley.  But Texas Public Radio's Aaron Schrank reports, some in Dilley worry hosting the hub of a controversial family detention policy hasn't paid off for locals. 
The Story

Houston Lawmaker Sponsors Criminal Justice Reform Bill

Protests erupted last week after video of the controversial arrests of a black woman and her daughters in Fort Worth went viral. The mother had called police for assistance after she said a white man grabbed her son by the neck for littering. The video shows the white officer saying “Why not?” to the mother after she told him what the neighbor had done. When she gets upset, the officer wrestles her to the ground, arresting her and one daughter, then pulls out his taser and arrests a second daughter.  An investigation is underway and the police officer has been placed on restricted duty.  Another high profile Texas case involving police and the arrest of a young black woman has prompted a Houston lawmaker to champion a bill to reform Texas’ criminal justice system.  It will be considered during the 2017 legislative session.  Houston Public Media’s Al Ortiz has details.
The Story

San Antonio Refugee Health Clinic Fills Large Gap
In the past six years, more refugees have resettled in Texas than in any other state in the country.  Texas pulled out of the refugee resettlement program citing concerns over terrorism.  That leaves many private and non-profit groups to provide the many refugee needs, everything from clothing to English classes to medical care.  Texas Public Radio’s Wendy Rigby reports the largest student run clinic reaching out to refugees is in San Antonio.
The Story

Meet Man Believed To Be Texas’ First Black Millionaire
William Madison McDonald, who is believed to be Texas’ first black millionaire, was born 150 years ago. McDonald became an influential banker and a political force… and he helped shape the city of Fort Worth at the turn of the 20th century. KERA’s Christopher Connelly reports on how he lifted up the African-American community.
The Story