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Immigrant Families Behind Bars


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Sandra's family rushes to embrace her after her release from three months in detention. Photo by Valeria Fernandez

La Llorona by Nuvia Crisol Guerra

Immigrant detention is the fastest-growing form of incarceration in the U.S., with more than 30-thousand detainees behind bars on any given day. Reports of rampant abuse and negligent medical care are widespread. And once again politicians, lawyers and human rights groups are calling for comprehensive immigration reform.

On this edition, we hear the story of an immigrant family torn apart after an immigration raid in Phoenix, Arizona. And we report on a successful grassroots effort to change policies at “Hutto,” a family detention center in Texas.

The first segment of this show is part of a special collaboration between National Radio Project and Feet in Two Worlds, a project bringing the work of immigrant journalists to public radio.

Much appreciation to the Omnia Foundation for funding for this program.

Listen to Segments:

‘Kathy’s Story:’

by Feet in Two Worlds Reporter Valeria Fernández
Kathy, 9-year-old U.S. Citizen; Joe Arpaio, Maricopa County Sheriff; Salvador Reza, PUENTE organizer; Sandra, Kathy’s mother; Griselda, Kathy’s aunt; Marina, Kathy’s aunt; Sarah Myklebust, Phoenix Repeal Coalition member.


by Independent Journalist Matt Gossage
Denia and Karen, Former Immigrant Detainees; Frances Valdez, Immigration Attorney; Michel Brane, Women’s Commission on Refugee

For more information:

American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU)– (National)

Detention Watch Network

Grassroots Leadership (National)

PUENTE Arizona

University of Texas-Austin Immigration Clinic– Austin, TX

Women’s Commission for Refugee Women and Children

Articles, Blogs, Films, Reports

Business of Detention (Blog)
Cracking Down on Immigration and Locking Up Profits

Familias Unidas por la Esperanza (Families United for Hope)

Mother Jones Blog
“When Your Mother is Deported” (Video)

“The Least of These”
Family Detention in America
A Documentary Film by Clark and Jesse Lyda

Texans United For Families (Blog)

Credits: The first segment, “Kathy’s Story,” excerpted a report on Joe Arpaio produced by Verónica Sánchez (Channel 12).

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