Overcrowding of families observed by the DHS Office of the Inspector General on June 11, 2019, at Border Patrol’s Weslaco, TX, Station. Photo: DHS OIG

Amidst the growing reports of the deplorable conditions at both the private Homestead facility in Florida, and other camps run by Customs and Border Protection, public outcry to “close the camps” echoed throughout the nation.  On July 2, 187 cities across the coast staged rallies and marches to ask that no more of our tax dollars flow to pipeline for the detention of migrants.

El Cerrito Shows UP: Rally at El Cerrito Plaza on Saturday, June 29th- Banner in the back says: Kids Need Adults to be Kind – this banner made by kids last year upon the reporting of mass family separations at the border.

Locally, over 200 local residents gathered on June 29th to voice there concerns about the health and safety of children at the border, denouncing current immigration polices that criminalize people who are fleeing violence.  On July 2nd, over 1,000 people marched to the office of Diane Feinstein and Nancy Pelosi asking for three actions:

Close the Camps

Not One More Dollar for Detention Camps

Bear Witness to the situation at our southern border.

Earlier in June, Rep. DeSaulnier appeared at a town hall meeting in El Cerrito.  He covered many subjects, and answered many questions, but he did not answer this question:  Why not close the camps?  I followed-up with a written submission of the question and received this response:

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Readers, please note that many of the migrants including unaccompanied minors have family in the United States.  Prior to the increased criminalization of immigrants, civil violations for those who did not have papers were handled through legal hearings.  Organizations and/or family members (aunts, uncles, cousins, etc. ) sponsored those who were awaiting their hearing-clearly a better prospect than the filthy and unhealthy confines currently offered to those already suffering trauma.  This is where children can go –with their families.   As long as these centers exist, there is little political will to really consider the alternatives and we will continue to feed this bureaucracy in our name and with our tax dollars.  Congress does have authority to spend money and to defund departments.   Please write Rep. DeSaulnier and ask that he defund the centers, not a penny more! End the contract with Homestead, the private for profit processing center for over 1200 children.

Never Again is Now.

DHS Inspector General Border Findings

Bay Area Close the Camps Action

Alternatives to immigrant detention

Homestead profiteering off of immigrants