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National week of action demands end to jailing of Central American children

By Marisol Marquez and Brad Sigal |
November 14, 2015
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Tampa protest against the jailing of Central American children
Tampa protest against the jailing of Central American children (Fight Back! News/Staff)

Los Angeles, CA - The Legalization for All Network (L4A) hosted a National Week of Action to demand an end to the jailing of Central American children, also known as ‘family detention.’ Starting on Nov. 2 and ending Nov. 8, protests in cities across the country demanded an “End to Family Detention” and “Not One More Deportation.”

Protests were organized from coast to coast, including actions organized by Florida’s Raices en Tampa; the Minnesota Immigrant Rights Action Committee (MIRAC) in Minneapolis; Youth Empowered in the Struggle (YES) in Milwaukee, Wisconsin; Together Without Borders in Provo, Utah; LUPE in Tucson, Arizona; and Centro CSO in Los Angeles.

Since the summer of 2014, over 68,241 refugee children from Central America and Mexico have taken to the treacherous journey of crossing the U.S./Mexico border. Many of them are fleeing the turmoil in their country, like those from Honduras. Honduras’ dire state is the result of a coup backed by the Obama administration. Since last summer thousands of young people have been fleeing violence and devastating poverty, crossing the U.S. border hoping for asylum once in the U.S.

Rather than being welcomed, the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) has threatened to deport them back to their home countries. But public pressure has forced the DHS to wait rather than deport the refugee children immediately. Instead of following the process of releasing these children to family members in the U.S. to await their asylum hearing, the DHS has decided to indefinitely jail thousands of children and mothers in new family detention centers, the largest of which are in Dilley and Karnes, Texas. These detention centers, private prisons operated for profit by the Corrections Corporation of America and GEO Group, have terrible and horrifying conditions.

A federal judge has twice ordered the administration to release all the detained refugee children, but so far these children have not been released.

Next up for the Legalization for All Network are actions in response to the recent attack against the expansion of Deferred Action for parents (DAPA), which would have expanded the number of undocumented immigrants who would not face the immediate threat of deportation. On Nov. 9 the courts continued to block the expansion of DAPA. It was originally blocked when 26 states with Republican governors sued to block it, and now a higher court upheld that ruling, making it more likely that the case will go to the Supreme Court.

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