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Austin groups protest Southwest Key

Friday, July 27, 2018 by Chad Swiatecki

A collection of local activist groups has called on Austin and Travis County to stop doing business with Southwest Key, a nonprofit group whose services include operating shelters for immigrant youth. Groups including the League of United Latin American Citizens District VII, Latino HealthCare Forum, Texas American Federation of Teachers and Austin Sanctuary Network gathered at the organization’s Austin headquarters just after noon on Thursday to protest its role in detaining children separated from their parents because of strict immigration policies on those seeking asylum at the border. Southwest Key also runs charter schools in underserved communities and runs youth justice programs. Last month a group of protesters organized as Frente de Liberación Inmigrante, or Immigration Liberation Front, gathered at the home of Southwest Key CEO Juan Sanchez and asked him to end the organization’s federal contracts in addition to giving up his reported $1.5 million salary. Speakers at Thursday’s protest included Frank Ortega, director of LULAC District VII; Cynthia Valadez, LULAC District VII deputy director for the elderly; and Isabel Lopez-Aguilar, a program coordinator with Latino HealthCare Forum.

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