Children speak out about conditions in detention camps while Vice President pushes for more power and funds to detain and abuse children
On Friday, people across the country are taking action with #Lights4Liberty vigils and protests to shed light on the abuse happening in detention camps at the southern border and beyond.
As hearings took place in Washington DC on the atrocities at the border, border communities in the Rio Grande Valley came together in a protest vigil to honor children who died due to the admin’s failure at the border.
The vigil was held in front of one of the border patrol detention centers where kids are separated from their families, kept in freezing cages, lack basic necessities, and sleep on concrete floors.
Hours later, Vice President Pence and Senator Lindsey Graham with a Senate delegation visited McAllen detention camps in order to push for more power and funds to detain and abuse children and hurt asylum seeking families.
Powers that would hurt families like Abraham, 8, and brother Elías, 13, who spoke at the vigil about their time in border detention camps. The brothers came to the US from El Salvador with their uncle to reunite with their father.
“They speak to you harshly,”Elías said of their time in border detention camps. The food wasn’t cooked. It was like it was rotten.”
He added, “We came with my uncle and they separated us from him. I never saw him again.”
The family came to LUPE to represent the children in deportation proceedings.
“I’ve had the privilege and honor of representing children who have been held at these border detention camps on their long journeys to reunite with their parents and families,” said LUPE attorney Eugene Delgado during the vigil. “Unfortunately, my clients have had a first hand experience of the atrocities happening throughout these detention camps. I fight for these children in court to get them out of government custody and reunite them with their families. I hope that you will join me and LUPE in our fight to put an end to these inhumane practices.”
When Abraham, Elias, and their parents joined LUPE, they became a part of a community fighting to end the abuse at the border and to ensure that every man, woman, and child that comes here in pursuit of rights and a future is treated with dignity.
The Trump administration’s tactic of subjecting children and families to horrid conditions has demonstrated the cruelty behind the border enforcement approach of punishing people who move in search of rights and a better life.
Border residents know that there is a better way to secure the rights, opportunities, and safety of newcomers and border residents alike. With warm meals and warm welcomes, border communities are already demonstrating what it looks like to respond to humanitarian need with care, concern, and love.
Our leaders should mobilize aid, not border patrol; close detention camps; end the ‘zero-tolerance’ policy and pursue legislation to decriminalize migration; and connect children and families with family members and other sponsors in the US quickly and safely.
Congress can do this immediately. All 2020 presidential candidates should come to the border and pledge to implement these solutions and end the horrific abuse in border detention camps.
The #Lights4Liberty McAllen protest vigil was hosted by La Unión del Pueblo Entero (LUPE), Angry Tias and Abuelas of the RGV, Texas Civil Rights Project, Rio Grande Valley Equal Voice Network, ARISE, and National Latina Institute for Reproductive Health.