Hundreds rally at Texas Capitol, call out treatment of migrant children at detention centers


AUSTIN (KXAN) — Hundreds of people gathered at the Texas Capitol and marched to the Governor’s mansion, protesting the treatment of migrant children held in detention centers in Texas.

This week, more than a dozen U.S. House members visited migrant detention centers in Texas, prompted by reports of overcrowded rooms and low supplies at some facilities. U.S. government inspectors also released a report Tuesday about their visits to South Texas facilities, revealing in one case 88 men were crowded into a cell meant for 41, and migrants clogging toilets in the hopes of being freed.

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In response to the report, the Department of Homeland Security wrote, “The situation on the Southern Border represents an acute and worsening crisis. Our immigration system is not equipped to accommodate a migration pattern like the one we are experiencing now.”

This past May, the Border Patrol made 132,887 apprehensions, compared to 40,339 in May 2018.

The Austin protest was organized by Austinites Crystal Bird Caviel and Randi Jones Hensley. Local immigrant and advocacy groups provided speakers, including the Southwest Region Nation of Islam, who’s Director, Robert Muhammad, provided the closing speech.

“We could not provide protection for their women and their children and we could not even guarantee that their children would be present with them in their adolescent years,” Muhammad said, referring to children being transferred to other facilities.

Other speakers at the rally were from the nonprofit Grassroots Leadership, UndocuBlack Network and Girasol. Casa Marianella, YWCA Austin and Democratic Socialists of America also had tables at the event.

Organizers say donations collected at the rally will go to Girasol, which supports immigrants both during and after they’ve been detained. The organization is housed in the Texas Institute for Child and Family Wellbeing at the University of Texas at Austin.

protest at the texas capitol
Protesters rallied at the Texas Capitol July 4, 2019, in response to reports of overcrowding at migrant detention facilities (KXAN Photo/Chris Nelson)

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