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September 14, 2009

The Least of These, a documentary on the Immigration Clinic’s work at the T. Don Hutto detention center, to screen at UT Law September 17, 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 screen at the University of Texas School of Law on September 17, 2009, at 5:30 p.m. in the Frances Auditorium. The screening is free and open to the public, and pizza and drinks will be available.

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 Dewey & LeBoeuf (formerly 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 significantly improved as a result of the litigation. Nevertheless, children continued to be detained with their parents at Hutto. Shortly before the settlement agreement was set to expire in August 2009, the Department of Homeland Security announced its intention to discontinue family detention at Hutto by the end of 2009.

The film premiered at the South by Southwest Film Conference and Festival on Monday, March 16, 2009.

Related links:

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


Mary Crouter, William Wayne Justice Center, (512) 232-7855,