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Los Angeles activists demand 'Free the Central American children'

By staff |
November 9, 2015
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 LA protest demands release of jailed immigrant children.
LA protest demands release of jailed immigrant children. (Fight Back! News / Staff)

Los Angeles, CA - Braving wind and rain, activists and immigrants stood in front of the Metropolitan Detention Center on Nov 2. They were there to demand an end to the detention of Central American children who are currently locked up in multiple facilities across the country.

Between Oct. 1, 2013 and Sept. 30, 2014 over 68,000 unaccompanied children were detained by the Border Patrol at the U.S. Mexican border. This was the highest number of children detained at the border, ever. 2015 has been the second highest record. Almost 80% of these children came fleeing Central America from countries like Honduras, Guatemala and El Salvador, all of which had long history of U.S. intervention.

In 2014, federal judges ordered the release of these children from detention centers. However, many of them are still in jail. Activists in Los Angeles joined others across the country as part of a national week of action to demand an end to family detentions and to free these children.

In front of the entrance, they held a banner that read “Legalization for all!” As passersby and cars honked and yelled in support, federal agents came out of the building. They threatened activists with arrest for being on federal property. Activists were on the sidewalk and stood their ground, which is public property. Federal agents went back inside.

The group chanted, “What do we want? Freedom! When do we want it? Now!” They were joined by a mother and daughter who fled from Honduras. They told the story of how they traveled across the Mexican border and were later locked up by Border Patrol. The mother, seven months pregnant, spent almost a week detained in McAllen, Texas. A young woman spoke to the media and group about her experience crossing the border and detention.

Many of the jailed children and mothers are being held in Texas.

Maria Ocampo stated, “It's truly heartbreaking that our children are treated like criminals and are imprisoned. They are the future. They deserve the right to be with their families and in school. Imagine how traumatizing it can be for a 5-year-old to be in a facility during his or her birthday or during holidays. No child should have to be detained for fleeing the violence in their home country. Texas needs to stand with the immigrant community. Enough with the racist attacks on Mexicans. Texas Governor Abbott needs to realize we the people are stronger than he is, we have the ultimate decision and we will fight the injustices he is doing in Texas. I stand in solidarity with my brothers and sisters in Texas.”