AUSTIN, Texas — The Texas Senate has formally approved licensing family immigrant detention centers as child care providers.
Wednesday’s 20-10 vote sends the bill to the state House. Passage isn’t guaranteed, though, since the legislative session ends in less than three weeks.
The bill allows Texas to license two family lockdowns, despite court rulings saying such facilities don’t meet requirements to care for kids. It also lets detention facilities hold families longer, which advocates say furthers children’s psychological harm.
The private prison company GEO Group has lobbied for the bill, which could help its 830-bed Karnes Residential Facility remain open.
That lockup, which mainly holds women and children seeking asylum from Central America, earns GEO $55 million annually.
Recently, Karnes’ population has plummeted as fewer immigrant families cross the border into the U.S.