Houston Rally Amplifies Voices of Women and Girls Detained in Immigration Prisons

Statement from National NOW

11.17.2019

HOUSTON, TEXAS – Gathering in the shadows of the Houston Contract Detention Facility, where a detainee died in July and which has been cited as having more deaths than most other facilities nationwide, activists are rallying today with the National Organization for Women and our Unlock the Future partners for the humane treatment of immigrant women and girls.  

“Brave women make the difficult, wrenching choice to uproot their families, abandon their homes and risk a dangerous journey north seeking a life free from violence and assault,” said NOW President Toni Van Pelt. “Yet when they get here they find themselves in places such as the Joe Corley Detention Facility in Conroe, Texas, which has a history of detaining pregnant women, and where former detainees have reported sexual assault. Across the nation, the rates of miscarriages have doubled among detained women over the past two years. These atrocities simply must stop.”  

To demand action against such horrid conditions, the Unlock the Future campaign is championing a Bill of Rights for immigrant women and girls, which has thousands of signatures calling for basic human needs and dignities for detained people.  This effort is more vital than ever as news reports have just revealed that White House Senior Adviser Stephen Miller, a key architect of President Trump’s inhumane immigration policies, once allegedly circulated material linked to white nationalism.  

“NOW and our partners are rallying in Houston and at additional locations around the country for the women and children who have been stripped of their dignity, safety and their visibility as human beings.  Their voices aren’t being heard.  Their stories aren’t being told,” said NOW Vice President Christian F. Nunes. “But we are here for them and standing with them, and through our Bill of Rights we are taking their cause to the highest levels of government.”  

Speakers at the rally include U.S. Congresswomen Sheila Jackson Lee (D-Texas) and Sylvia Garcia (D-Texas) as well as Ruby Powers, immigration lawyer and human rights activist, Tia Oso, international activist and strategist for BLD PWR initiative, Amy Hinojosa, president and CEO, MANA, A National Latina Organization, Kendrick Sampson, activist and actor from HBO’s Insecure, Frances “Poppy” Northcutt, Texas NOW president and Andrea Fernandez, NOW-Austin chair.  

NOW and our Unlock the Future partners will next hold a rally in Phoenix on Dec. 8 and will be taking the Bill of Rights to Capitol Hill and top administration officials. 

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Speaker Quotes in Support of Unlock the Future Houston: 

“Many of these women are seeking refuge from sexual violence, assault and poverty. We should have a humane immigration process that does not make it harder on them or dehumanizes them for having the courage to seek the American dream.” 

— U.S. Congresswoman Sylvia Garcia (D-Texas)  

“The unconscionable treatment of women and girls at the border is being done in our name – and that means we have a responsibility to end it.”  

–Ruby Powers, Immigration Lawyer and Human Rights Activist 

“The cruelty being visited upon women and girls in detention – from lack of access to basic cleanliness and hygiene products to sexual assault and physical violence on top of family separation – should keep us all awake at night. They have endured the unimaginable in search of a better life, yet arrive to this treatment. Those of us with a voice are needed in this moment – and we will use our voices until these unconscionable practices end.” 

Amy Hinojosa, President and CEO, MANA, A National Latina Organization 

As we work to liberate everyone, we must pay particular attention to protecting and centering the most vulnerable. Womxn and girls are especially vulnerable in detention.  

–Kendrick Sampson, Activist and Actor from HBO’s Insecure 

“We need to mobilize, we need to organize, and we need to realize that we have the power.” 

Andrea Fernandez, NOW-Austin chair  

Unlock the Future Co-Sponsors 

National Partners 

Unlock the Future Co-Sponsors

National Partners

Unlock the Future Co-Sponsors

National Partners

African Communities Public Health Coalition

Association of World Citizens

Black Women’s Blueprint

BLD PWR

CASA

Catholics for Choice

Dolores Huerta Foundation

Families Belong Together

Feminist Majority Political Action Committee

First Church UCC

Go With The Flow

Harness

Immigrant Families Together

Justice for Migrant Women

Legal Momentum

MomsRising

MamásConPoder

MANA

PERIOD. The Menstrual Movement

Refugee and Immigrant Center for

Education and Legal Services (RAICES)

Religious Coalition for Reproductive Choice

Sister Song

The Global Women’s Institute

The Peace Alliance

UltraViolet

UNITE HERE!

Local and State Partners

California Assemblymember Wendy Carrillo (AD-51)

Border Angels

California NOW

Field Team 6

Heart of LA Democratic Club

Hollywood NOW

LEAN IN San Diego

Migrant Child Watch

San Gabriel Valley California NOW

Planned Parenthood Generation Action at UC San Diego

Riverside County California NOW

San Diego Area California NOW

Senator Pro Temp Toni Atkins

Stonewall Democratic Club

The Strategic Insights Group

Women’s March California

Women’s March San Diego

California NOW

84 Reasons Inc

C.A.E.O.S. Project

Eagle Wings

eCinaj

Houston Area NOW

Houston Youth Activists (HYA)

Pretty Girls Rock

Texas NOW

Arizona Federation of Democratic Women (AFDW)

Arizona NOW

AZ Celebrates the 19th Amendment.

Central Phoenix • Inez Casiano NOW

Handmaids’ Resistance Phoenix

National Council of Jewish Women (NCJWAZ)

Refugee Aid

Uncage & Reunite Families Coalition

Women’s March Phoenix

Direct Support for Immigrants

NetworkNoVA

S K Burt Law

The Outrage

Central New York NOW

Charlottesville Virginia NOW

Monroe County Indiana NOW

Montana NOW

Nevada NOW

Southwest Idaho NOW

Utah NOW

Williamson County Texas NOW

For a full list of Unlock the Future Partners, please see our Bill of Rights. 
Local and State Partners 

 

Contact

Kimberly Hayes, Press Secretary , press@now.orgp , 202-570-4745
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