Nationwide protests demand closure of immigrant detention centers

Demonstrators gathered outside the Norm Dicks Government Center in Bremerton, Tuesday

A protest to demand the closure of immigrant detention centers was held Tuesday outside the Norm Dicks Government Center in Bremerton.

“The Bremerton protest is part of a national day of action in response to inhuman conditions in [President] Trump’s detention centers,” Host Brandy Williams said in a press release.

Protest organizers labeled the immigration detention centers as “inhumane” and that they “subject children and families to horrific conditions.”

Some 70 people gathered around noon outside the Norm Dicks Government Center and began by chanting “no cages, no camps, no family separation,” “close the camps, close the camps,” and “say it loud, say it clear, immigrants and refugees are welcome here.”

Katie Allen, a district representative for Rep. Derek Kilmer, was present at the protest and read a prepared statement from Kilmer, who was unable to attend.

“I want to thank you for being here today and standing up for what is right. Your advocacy on this issue is making a difference,” the statement read. “The situation at the border is not acceptable. As a country, we have to do better for these people.”

Many of the protesters questioned Kilmer’s leadership after his written statement was read. One even yelled out “is he going to close the camps or not?”

“I can’t sleep knowing that there are children in custody,” event organizer Brandy Williams said.

“Children will not be safe until these camps are closed. They are being detained for weeks without soap or toothbrushes,” another protester said at the event. “Just last week, children in a Texas border station were found dirty and sick.”

“The conditions at these camps are the product of a cruel and intentional strategy by the Trump administration to terrorize immigrant communities, criminalize immigration, and dismantle our asylum laws.”

Protesters nationwide assembled outside of congressional district offices and called on members of Congress to close the immigration detention camps, refuse to authorize any more funding for family detention and deportation, and visit detention camps.

“These conditions are the product of a cruel and intentional strategy by the Trump administration to terrorize immigrant communities, criminalize immigration, and dismantle our asylum laws,” a press release from the group states.

“From imprisoning children in inhumane detention centers, threatening widespread raids to break up families, and covering up reports of migrants dying in U.S. custody, we must come together to permanently end family detention and separation, ensure all families are reunited, and close the camps.”

For more information, visit CloseTheCampsNow.org

—Tyler Shuey is a reporter for Kitsap News Group. He can be reached at tshuey@soundpublishing.com

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