SAN YSIDRO, Calif. — Hundreds filled the streets of San Ysidro Friday evening to protest the living conditions of immigrant children and families and demand the closure of immigrant detention facilities altogether.
The gathering began at Cesar Chavez Park around 5 p.m., which quickly filled up with people holding signs. More than 50 organizations both local and national helped to put on the “Close the Camps” demonstration.
The main concerns for protestors included the separation of families and what they consider “inhumane” treatment of of immigrants while in holding facilities. Many people began referring to those facilities as “concentration camps.”
“We are better than this. We should treat people with humanity with love and compassion,” said Sonia Hamilton.
There were only minor interruptions by a single counter protestor at the park, but also people in attendance on the other side of the issue.
“I think America is doing their best to provide for and hold these people that don’t have anywhere to go. They should be grateful for being given the opportunity to come into America,” said Paloma Zuniga.
The White House has also weighed in on claims of mistreatment at detention centers, saying reports are conditions are being exaggerated.
Demonstrators held onto to their own beliefs and marched into the night on Camino De La Plaza, causing the street to be shut down in one direction as they made their way to the San Ysidro Port of Entry. Once there, protestors ended the evening with a candlelight vigil in honor of immigrant families in detention.
An estimated 700 similar protests were scheduled for Friday evening in cities across the nation.