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March 5, 2009

Clark Lyda, ’85, to premiere his documentary on the Hutto detention center at South by Southwest Film Festival, March 16, 2009

Professor Barbara Hines, Immigration Clinic featured

Professor Barbara Hines and the Immigration Clinic of the University of Texas School of Law are featured in a documentary film, The Least of These, for their work in exposing conditions and seeking changes for immigrant detainees at the T. Don Hutto Residential Center in Taylor, Texas. The film’s director, Clark Lyda, is a 1985 graduate of the School of Law. It will premiere at the 2009 South by Southwest Film Festival  on Monday, March 16, 2009.

Hines, clinical law professor and director of the Immigration Clinic, appears extensively in the film discussing Hutto and the litigation brought against the detention center. Hines, clinic students, and Matt Pizzo, a former clinic student, are listed in the film credits. In addition, all of the immigrants featured in the film are former clinic clients.

In March 2007, the American Civil Liberties Union and the law school’s immigration clinic filed lawsuits on behalf of immigrant children challenging their illegal detention at the Hutto facility and seeking the release of immigrants and improved conditions. The international law firm of LeBoeuf, Lamb, Greene & MacRae also participated as co-counsel. In August 2007, the attorneys representing the children reached a settlement with the federal government. Conditions at Hutto have gradually and significantly improved as a result of the litigation. Nevertheless, children continue to be detained with their parents at Hutto, the facility is still run by the Corrections Corporation of America, and the settlement agreement expires in August 2009.

The first screening of the The Least of These will be at the South by Southwest Film Conference and Festival on Monday, March 16, at 11 a.m. at the Alamo Ritz (320 E. 6th). After the screening, the filmmakers will host a reception, and the film’s distributors will host a press conference. Other screenings of this film will be on Wednesday, March 18, at 7 p.m. at the Alamo Lamar (1120 S. Lamar Blvd) and Friday, March 20, at 11 a.m. at the Paramount (713 Congress Ave).

Related links:

“The Least of These”

Settlement reached in federal litigation challenging conditions at immigrant detention center

ACLU Challenges Illegal Detention of Immigrant Children Held in Prison-Like Conditions

Hutto and the ACLU's litigation

UT Law Immigration Clinic

Women’s Refugee Commission

Contact: Kirston Fortune, Assistant Dean for Communications, (512) 471.7330 or kfortune@law.utexas.edu.