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The Brief: A New Look at the Cost of Detaining Asylum Seekers

A new Washington Post report digs deeper into the $1 billion contract given to the Corrections Corporation of America to build the facility in Dilley to detain women and children seeking asylum.

Protestors left their signs on the fence surrounding the South Texas Family Residential Center near Dilley, Texas on May 2, 2015.

The Big Conversation

A new Washington Post report takes a close look at the $1 billion contract given to the nation's largest prison company by the federal government to build a facility in the South Texas town of Dilley to detain women and children seeking asylum.

The Post report describes the contract as "an unusual arrangement," in which the Corrections Corporation of America is paid no matter how many people are detained in the facility. In recent months, the Dilley facility has been just half full but that one center accounts for 14 percent of the CCA's revenue.

Laura Lichter, a Denver immigration and asylum attorney, told the Post, "This was about the best thing that could happen to private detention since sliced bread."

CCA has benefited from a change to a tougher policy under the Obama administration on asylum seekers. The Post reported that the U.S. government kept fewer than 100 beds for family detention at the outset of Obama's presidency but that had jumped to more than 3,000 by the close of 2014. 

Trib Must Reads

Analysis: Hiding Texas Campaign Spending Details, Legally, by Ross Ramsey — The state is trying to regulate what some have called the “campaign in a box,” when a candidate reports writing one big check to a consultant, who then handles all of the campaign spending off the books.

10 Texas School Names Honoring Confederates Have Changed. At Least 24 Haven't., by Isabelle Taft — After the Charleston shootings, schools in Houston, Austin, Dallas and San Antonio witnessed tense debates over the proper place of Confederate names in the public landscape. But many other districts have not considered any changes.

How Michael Morton’s Wrongful Conviction Has Brought Others Justice, by Johnathan Silver (with timeline) — Thirty years ago, a Williamson County murder set in motion a shoddy prosecution that led to the wrongful conviction of Michael Morton. It's a miscarriage in justice that's still felt in the state's criminal cases.

Cornyn Asks DOJ for Answers into Clinton Foundation Probe, by Khorri Atkinson — Sen. John Cornyn, R-Texas, is seeking answers from U.S. Attorney General Loretta Lynch over potential links between the Clinton Foundation and the U.S. State Department when Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton was secretary of state.

Judge Doesn't Rule in Texas' Lawsuit Over Transgender Protections, by Alexa Ura — In the first hearing over a Texas-led lawsuit against the federal government, state attorneys argued that the Obama administration’s guidelines to accommodate transgender students unconstitutionally “hold a gun to the head” of states and school districts.

The Day Ahead

After taking a week from the hearing room last week, Texas lawmakers resume preparations today for next year's legislative session at the Capitol. The House State Affairs Committee meets at 1 p.m. with utility rates as well as inaccurate or confusing utility bills on the agenda. The Senate Committee on Intergovernmental Relations meets at 9 a.m. where they will take up issues related to home rule municipalities and municipal management districts.


(Links below lead to outside websites; content might be behind paywall)

Facebook posts will be key in local terror trial, Houston Chronicle

Baylor sexual assault victims met with skepticism, little assistance from university, Houston Chronicle

Texas 130’s private operator plans to leave toll road behind, San Antonio Express-News

Casino on East Texas Indian reservation thrives even as challenged by state officials, Fort Worth Star-Telegram

UNT-Dallas wants to make law school less elitist — and that could be its downfall, The Dallas Morning News

Lockhart, Texas, hot air balloon crash: Big insurance payout iffy, Austin American-Statesman

Texas-based Schlitterbahn facing scrutiny after boy killed at Kansas water park, San Antonio Express-News

More spill photos to be available to public, El Paso Times

Health Insurers Use Process Intended to Curb Rate Increases to Justify Them, The New York Times

Quote to Note

"I think Donald Trump is dangerous. I think he is scary as hell ... He's not man enough or have the balls enough to come on [my show,] but I'll take his money."

— Conservative radio host Glenn Beck discussing on Friday his decision to sell his email list to the Trump presidential campaign, as reported by Right Wing Watch

Trib Events for the Calendar

•   A Conversation with state Sen. Juan "Chuy" Hinojosa and state Reps. Terry Canales and Bobby Guerra on Aug. 26 at UT Rio Grande Valley in Edinburg

•   The Texas Tribune Festival on Sept. 23-25 at the University of Texas at Austin

•   TribFeast: A Dinner To Support Nonprofit Journalism on Sept. 24 at the University of Texas at Austin's Etter-Harbin Alumni Center

•   A Conversation with state Reps. Four Price and John Smithee on Oct. 4 at Amarillo College in Amarillo

•   A Conversation with state Reps. Andrew Murr and Jason Isaac on Nov. 14 at Schreiner University in Kerrville

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