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Clinton Ignores Immigration Group's Request For Meeting During Austin Visit

Ryan E. Poppe

Hillary Clinton made a stop in downtown Austin Friday for a campaign fundraiser.  And while the event was closed to the public, that didn’t stop dozens of immigrant rights activists from rallying in the streets in front of the “W” Hotel, hoping to gain a presence with the Democratic presidential front runner.

There was no shortage of Austin police helping usher Clinton and her staff through the back of the iconic downtown Austin hotel, with security yelling at passersby and reporters to clear the sidewalk around the building.

While Clinton was here for a private meeting with Austin Democratic campaign donors, that didn’t stop members of the nonprofit Grassroots Leadership from trying to have a sit down with Clinton to discuss her promises to close the Karnes City and Dilley family immigration detention centers.  Though not allowed inside, members of the group snuck in and began singing inside the hotel lobby.

Cristina Parker is the immigration program director at Grassroots Leadership.

“This is a state where family detention is a really huge issue, we have massive family detention centers that hold Central American women and children.  Hillary Clinton said she is against this policy, but we are asking her to use her influence as the powerful person that she is to push the Obama administration to end this now.  She said she’ll end it in November, but these women can’t wait, they are suffering.  I don’t think she can ignore this issue in our state and just raise money and leave," Parker explained.

But Clinton did move on to her next event without meeting 1 on 1 with members of the group.  Grassroots Leadership filed a civil lawsuit against the State of Texas in May for creating a special child care license for the private detention facilities in Dilley and in Karnes City.  The license would allow immigration officials to keep mothers and their children in a detention center for extended periods of time without violating federal statutes.  Travis County District Judge Karin Crump placed the state’s childcare license on hold until she can hear the case on June 1. 

Ryan started his radio career in 2002 working for Austin’s News Radio KLBJ-AM as a show producer for the station's organic gardening shows. This slowly evolved into a role as the morning show producer and later as the group’s executive producer.