The Future of Family Detention in America

The Open Society Institute and the American Civil Liberties Union cosponsored this forum on immigrant detention in the United States.  The event screened and discussed The Least of These, the acclaimed documentary film that explores, through the lens of the T. Don Hutto family detention center in Texas, the human and political dimensions of immigrant detention.

Last month, the U.S. government announced that it will stop imprisoning families awaiting immigration proceedings at Hutto.  The now-notorious facility was the subject of an ACLU lawsuit over the conditions in which families and children, many asylum-seekers, were housed—for example, children were required to wear prison uniforms, given very little educational programming, and sometimes threatened by guards with separation from their parents if they misbehaved. 

Though families will no longer be housed at Hutto, the fate of family detention—and of immigrant detention generally—is very much an open question, and will be an important barometer of change under the Obama administration.  This forum considers both the future of immigrant detention and the ways in which advocacy around conditions at Hutto—including litigation, grassroots organizing, and documentary filmmaking—helped create the important political moment in which we find ourselves today.


  • Vanita Gupta, American Civil Liberties Union
  • Barbara Hines, University of Texas School of Law
  • Michelle Brané, Women's Refugee Commission
  • Marcy Garriott, Producer of The Least of These
  • Maria Teresa Rojas, Open Society Institute (Moderator)

View the Film Trailer

Date: September 23, 2009
Time: 5:307:30 p.m.

OSI-New York

Michelle Brané, Marcy Garriott, Vanita Gupta, Barbara Hines, and Maria Teresa Rojas
Sponsored by: