Victory! Universal City Council unanimously votes against VisionQuest’s for-profit child detention center

UNIVERSAL CITY — Last night, members of the SA Stands coalition urged Universal City council members to deny VisionQuest’s rezone request to open a new child detention facility. 

With a packed room, for the second time this month, immigration advocates ardently argued that city residents and neighbors of San Antonio did not want an abusive for-profit company to operate in their community. After the public hearing, the City Council voted unanimously against the proposal. Earlier this month, SA Stands members testified at Universal City’s zoning commission, which also voted 7-0 against the rezone request, passing their recommendation on to City Council. Coalition members argued that children deserve to be free and with their families, and that no city should facilitate the trauma of detention, much less for a profit.

“I am relieved that City Council made the right decision and followed the Planning and Zoning Commission’s unanimous recommendation. As shown by an overflowing room at both meetings, this project would clearly go against the values and wellbeing of our community,” said Katy Murdza, a member of the Texas Organizing Project and SA Stands

“VisionQuest claims to provide a safe space for children,” said SA Stands member Natalie Lerner. “However, the company has a history of physically and verbally abusing children in its care, and profits off imprisoning and traumatizing children who are already in a vulnerable position. That is not what ‘safety’ looks like.”

“Our Native American children were forced into boarding schools, that action separated them from their language, families and communities,” said Frankie Orona, executive director of the Society of Native Nations and member of SA Stands. “It’s really sad that children are still being treated this way, we should treat human beings as human beings.” 

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SA Stands is a strong collaborative in the city of San Antonio and Bexar County that is committed to the protection, safety, dignity, inclusion, and freedom of all immigrants, regardless of race, religion, gender identity, sexual orientation, ethnicity or special ability. Through organized campaigns, advocacy efforts, community education, and direct action, SA Stands will mobilize against any laws and efforts that criminalize, incarcerate, deport and divide our communities. For more information, visit sastands.org or Facebook.com/SAStands