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Tucson families show support for child refugees

By Jim Byrne

A cage to represent the detention centers holding children.

Tucson, AZ – “Que vivan los ninos! Vivan!” chanted the crowd of nearly 70 outside Tucson’s downtown public library, July 30. They convened, as one mother said, “To support the children from Guatemala, El Salvador and Honduras who are fleeing violence, gangs and poverty.” Passersby could not miss the signs naming the causes of migration that read: “U.S. supports coups,” “U.S. fuels civil wars,” “U.S. backs militarization” and “Free Trade ruins lives.”

Organizers from the local immigrant rights group Derechos Humanos constructed a cage to represent the detention centers holding children awaiting release or deportation. Behind the cage, children stood holding signs with the text of the UN Rights of Children in both Spanish and English.

“We are here today to tell the children and families in detention that we support you, that we are here with love. We are here today to call out the policies of the U.S. government that funds civil wars, that exploits nations through free trade and militarizes communities,” said organizer Isabel Garcia.

Tucson is seeing a number of children and families released to the community, as their cases are being dropped or resolved. However, organizers and activists are demanding that the remaining children receive due process, as well as community protection, not deportation. Arizona is home to private detention centers owned by the notorious Corrections Corporation of America (CCA) and the GEO Group – two major financiers of the politicians who passed Arizona’s racial profiling law SB 1070.

As people were heading home from the rally, activist Eduardo Cott explained, “Amid a sea of rabid, racist oppression towards Mexicans, Central Americans and other nationalities, in the form of policies such as Arizona’s SB 1070 law and the Secure Communities program, and with bigots like Governor Brewer, U.S. Senator John McCain and Sheriff Joe Arpaio, this demonstration of community support signals a continued resistance by the masses of Arizona.”

#TucsonAZ #immigrantChildren