AUSTIN, Texas (AP) — Texas lawmakers are advancing a proposal to license family immigrant detention centers as child care providers.

The state Senate voted 20-11 Tuesday to approve a bill that would allow Texas to license two family lockdowns, despite past state court rulings that such facilities do not meet requirements to care for kids.

The bill would enable detention facilities to hold families for prolonged stays, which advocates say would further children's psychological harm.

The private prison company GEO Group has lobbied for the bill, which could help its 830-bed Karnes Residential Facility remain open.

That lockup, which mainly holds women and children seeking asylum from Central America, earns GEO $55 million annually.

Recently Karnes' population has plummeted, since fewer immigrant families are crossing the border into the U.S.


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