An Awakening: Reflection on the End of Family Detention at T. Don Hutto

By Ralph Isenberg
Special to the Texas Civil Rights Review

This will be my first attempt to communicate a message since mid-2008 when the pressure of fighting the government became too much for me to handle and my own experiences with immigration, although behind me, started to haunt me. This is better known as post traumatic stress.

Time does heal most wounds and I am slowly feeling comfortable enough getting back into the fight.

For families having immigration trouble, the T. Don Hutto Residential Center in Taylor, Texas is now a facility of the past. Families will be placed in a facility more suited for their detention or not even detained at all.

It took an amazing effort of people, the majority of which have nothing in common and do not even know each other, to come together and demand change. The struggle lasted about three years and the result is good.

The result confirms that we as Americans are good people with a heart. There is reason to celebrate and this is not the time to blend negative thoughts into what is truly wonderful news.

I contacted several families of Hutto and know they share in the celebration. So many of the families now reside back in their homelands away from the place they want to call home. Yet, they still celebrate the news for they know that their experience was not in vain.

Thousands of future families will no longer have to endure what they endured. The families of Hutto are the true heroes that must be acknowledged first.

For every situation there must be a lesson to be learned. History will judge those that implemented the policy that created Hutto. History will judge those that supported the concept for nothing more than financial gain. History will judge those that worked inside Hutto. History will judge the community of Taylor, Texas. History will not be kind.

History will not judge those of us that became involved for I suspect we are what I call a “living history” and we will continue to look not to the future, but to the present, to find the next Hutto that deserves attention. We do this knowing that already there is plenty of work to be done.

So let us celebrate what is truly remarkable news and move on. Blessed are those that make the peace.

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