McAllen Protest of Border Detention Conditions Serves as Backdrop to VP Pence Visit to Texas Border

Advocates to demonstrate a better way to secure the rights, opportunities, and safety of newcomers and border residents

Lights for Liberty Vigil Image of Statue of Liberty Handing Torch to Immigrant Child While Hand Pulls Child AwayMCALLEN, TX—On Friday, July 12, Vice President Mike Pence and a Senate delegation will visit McAllen, Texas. The same day, advocates for migrant families will hold a protest vigil outside the Ursula Border Patrol detention center, located at 37000 W Ursula Ave, McAllen, Texas. Ursula is one of the facilities where kids are separated from their families, kept in freezing cages, lack basic necessities, and sleep on concrete floors. The event will take place at 9 am on the sidewalk of the processing center.

The protest is part of a national effort through Lights for Liberty where thousands of people will join vigils and protests to shine a light on the horrific abuse of children and families in human detention camps. During McAllen’s protest, border advocates will point to solutions to the humanitarian crisis.

Trump and his administration are using the humanitarian crisis to push for more money for the same failed policies that have exacerbated the conditions migrant families endure at the border. The supplemental funding approved by Congress last month–cited by the VP in his tweet as the occasion for his visit–will ultimately fail to address, and potentially exacerbate, the cruelty and horrid conditions at the border because, under this administration, cruelty is precisely the point. In a recent OIG report, the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) admits that the horrid conditions are part of a wider punishment strategy to deter asylum seekers. Congress failed to curtail this abhorrent strategy when it failed to include safeguards to protect children and families in detention or keep the administration from rerouting funds for more harmful and useless enforcement, like walls, detention, and increased Border Patrol presence in border communities.

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 is 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.

(Note: The image accompanying this post is a combination of photos of coloring book pages colored by children at shelters after being released from border detention camps.)

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LUPE is a nonprofit organization that helps the community organize for and win a better quality of life. LUPE was founded in 1989 by farmworker and civil rights leaders Cesar E. Chavez and Dolores Huerta. We are a membership-based organization and our strength is found in the participation of our over eight thousand members. LUPE is a member organization of the RGV Equal Voice Network.

Learn more about LUPE online at www.lupenet.org