Immigrant-rights activists in the Dallas area called for a halt on Wednesday to raids that have served to round up illegal immigrants in Texas and across the country, saying the status of those unlawfully in the U.S. could change if Congress overhauls immigration laws this year.

Raids have increased across the nation in the last year. In Texas, more than 3,100 people have been apprehended since December through such efforts as Operations Wagon Train, Wrangler and Return-to-Sender. . .

The Dallas-area activists also joined other groups in calling for closure of the T. Don Hutto Family Residential Facility in the central Texas town of Taylor. The facility is a converted maximum-security prison where non-Mexican families with children have been detained since the U.S. government changed certain immigration policies last year.

The American Civil Liberties Union and the University of Texas law school’s immigration clinic are exploring possible legal action to block the detention of children at Hutto.

A Richardson mother – 34-year-old Palestinian Hanan Ibrahim – and her four children were recently released from the facility, and, effectively, became the face for many detainees.

“How can we let this happen?” asked Asam Salam, a naturalized U.S. citizen from Pakistan who works with the Dallas Peace Center and the Council on American-Islamic Relations. “We are a highly cultured and civilized society.”


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