Taylor, Texas, is a suburb around 30 miles northeast of Austin that boasts its history as a railroad hub and small-town authenticity. In 2016, more than half of Williamson County—where Taylor is seated—voted for Donald Trump. But recently, county officials decided not to help the president in his push to expand the detention of unauthorized migrants, including those seeking asylum.
On June 26, in a regularly planned county court meeting, the future of Taylor’s T. Don Hutto detention center was first on the agenda. A county contract with U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) requires it to oversee the 500-bed facility exclusively for migrant women—in return for $8,000 per month and $1 daily for each detainee housed. Before the item was put to vote, Commissioner Terry Cook, the only Democrat on the Williamson County Court, made a passionate statement.