Washington: Thousands of demonstrators held candle light vigils across the US in protest against rounding up of undocumented immigrants and demanding closure of detention centres for migrant children and families.
In Washington on Friday, hundreds of people gathered at the Lafayette Square, near the White House, in response to a call for a collective vigil to push back against the federal government’s deportation tactics, including how children were being held at immigration centres and how raids were being conducted to round up immigrants, reports Efe news.
People converged in other cities including El Paso, Miami, San Diego and New York.
Among the protesters at Lafayette Square was Democrat Norma Torres, who was born in Guatemala.
“All of us present here are Americans, all of us came here to seek a better future and it is not a crime to come here and seek asylum,” Torres told the protesters, speaking in Spanish.
She alleged that President Donald Trump’s administration was “incriminating a simple asylum request”.
Several of the banners the protesters flashed said: “Children should not be put into cages”, “Separation of Central American families is a crime against humanity”, “Close down concentration camps” and “Children are not criminals”.
The protesters also rejected the threats of raids against undocumented immigrants beginning from next Sunday in nine US cities as Trump announced on Friday.
The organizers estimated that 2,500 protesters attended the Washington vigil,.
Immigrant detention centres are under public scrutiny after independent reports were disseminated along with government reports warning of overcrowding and unsanitary conditions.
On Friday, Vice President Mike Pence visited the Donna detention centre, near McAllen, Texas, and showed the conditions of the place to the cameras.
Last week, US Department of Homeland Security’s inspector general acknowledged extreme overcrowding, long stays and health risks in the Border Patrol facilities in south Texas, after a visit.