Villarreal has been a Board member at Southwest Key Programs since 2012.
By H. Nelson Goodson
Hispanic News Network U.S.A.
June 24, 2018
Milwaukee, WI – An online petition posted on Wednesday in Mijente dot net is requesting for Anselmo Villarreal, the CEO of La Casa de Esperanza in Waukesha to resign as Vice-chair of the Board at Southwest Key Programs. The petiton was posted by Jeanette Martin from Young People’s Resistance Committee (YPRC), a student group at the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee. The YPRC was formerly the YES youth group originated from Voces de la Frontera (VDLF), which is controlled by White liberals on the Board.
The petition reads, Anselmo Villarreal must step down from his current position as Vice Chair of the Board of Directors of the Southwest Key Program (SKP) and publicly denounce the violent separation and criminalization of immigrant children and their families under the current administration’s policy.
The Young People’s Resistance Committee discovered that Anselmo Villarreal, CEO of La Casa de Esperanza, one of Wisconsin’s most important Latino community organizations, sits on the Board of Directors of the Southwest Key Program, the non-profit running child internment camps on the U.S.-Mexico border. La Casa de Esperanza is an important resource hub for the Waukesha Latino and immigrant community. We find it disturbing that Mr. Villareal would associate himself in any way with an organization that is complicit in the inhumane act of separating children from their families.
Several organizations, including the American Psychological Association, the American College of Physicians, and the American Public Health Association have denounced this policy. Mr. Villareal, there is no humane way of separating children from their families. Southwest Key Programs is complicit in this violation of rights; we urge you to step down from its board and renew your commitment to the humane treatment of immigrants everywhere, according to the petition. It has a limit of 100 people to sign the petition.
Hispanic News Network U.S.A. has attempted to contact Villarreal via email to ask him if he would resign from the Board of Southwest Key Programs or will he continue on the Board? Villarreal has not responded.
Apparently Southwest Key Programs (SKP) has taken down its website and replaced it with a temporary website, which actually has very limited information and doesn’t not identify its Board. Villarreal has been on the SKP Board since 2012.
SKP has a $458M an annual contract with the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services/Office of Refugee Resettlement to hold undocumented children in 2018 and has made $1.5B in the last 10 years under government contracts.
The separating of children from undocumented parents by the border patrol is turning into a profit operation for a non-profit that operates a dozen facilities housing undocumented children. After the children are processed at border patrol centers including in McAllen, they are transported to detention facilities operated by the non-profit organization Southwest Key Programs Inc., which will be paid more than $458M in 2018 by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, according to TIME. The TIME reported that, “The nonprofit, Southwest Key Programs Inc., is to be paid more than $458 million in fiscal 2018, according to the data — the most among the organizations, government agencies and companies that run a detention and care system for immigrant children on behalf of the Department of Health and Human Services. Southwest Key has about a dozen facilities in Texas, including a site at a former WalMart Inc. store in Brownsville that has drawn attention from members of Congress and national news organizations.”
ABCNEWS reported that it cost about $700 to house a child per day in a facility run by Southwest Key.
Dr. Juan Jose Sanchez, the President and CEO of Southwest Key made $1.7M in salary in 2017 (IRS info), doubling his salary from 2016. Southwest Key operates 83 detention centers/shelters/schools around the country and his wife Jennifer Nelson listed as Vice-president in the latest tax filing made $260,000. In the last ten years, Southwest Key has been paid $1.5B under government contracts, CNN reported.
To deport an undocumented immigrant, it costs an estimated $13K each. According to a 2015 report by the Council on Hemispheric Affairs, Private Prison Corporations (PPC’s) earned $3B for holding ICE detainees. An estimated 34,000 of undocumented immigrants are incarcerated daily costing between $159 to $200 each to hold in a private prison.
States do pay for most of the costs to hold undocumented detainees from their jurisdictions and the federal government reimburse the states about half.
A national day of action against separating children is planned for June 30 around the country, according to organizers.
The Southwest Key Programs Board of Directors
• Orlando Martinez – Board Chair from Atlanta, Georgia. Member since 2007
• Anselmo Villarreal – Board Vice-chair from Milwaukee, Wisconsin. Member since 2012
• Rosa Santis – Board Treasurer from East Austin, Texas. Member since 2011
• Elizabeth V. Villegas, CLTC – Board Secretary from Austin, Texas. Member since 2011
• Victor Garza – Immediate Past Board Chair from Fresno, California. Member since 2004
• David Marshall Jr. – Board Member from Washington, D.C. Member since 2014