Hundreds of protesters gathered in the Takoma neighborhood of D.C. on Wednesday for a peaceful rally in opposition to the detention of migrant children.
A building located on the Maryland side of the neighborhood is being eyed by the Trump administration as a possible 200-bed, for-profit detention center for unaccompanied immigrant children.
This month, the administration of D.C. Mayor Muriel Bowser has been able to stop the development of the property, enacting emergency rules that blocked a planned federal shelter.
Although there are no official statements regarding whether and when immigrant children will be moved into Lauren Street NW’ building, if the decision moves forward, protesters and local elected officials say it would be operated by for-profit Maryland developer Dynamic Service Solutions.
The protest, organized by a dozen local organizations, brought out various people, both Takoma Park residents and not.
“People will be out every day,” a resident named Max told The Globe Post while posing with his 1-year-old daughter, “today it is her birthday and decided to bring her to this protest,” concluded the man.
“We will not tolerate this here, it is a very active community and there will be constant protests” agreed Steve and Stephanie.
“We are ashamed of this government, what they want to do in Takoma and in general,” concluded the couple who lives a block away the building.
Their banners showed a child in a cage, a symbol of the protest. “Immigrants make America great,” reads one, “We must be a refugee,” reads another.
One woman did not have time to bring any sheet and decided to paint an umbrella.
“I am a teacher, I am not from the neighborhood but I have a student who is from Honduras and she is afraid. I am here for her,” Janel Leppin told The Globe Post.
Only a week ago, the Trump administration announced it is ending a federal court agreement that limits how long migrant families with children can be detained, meaning that migrant families who are detained after crossing the border can be kept indefinitely, until their cases are decided.
“I am firmly against opening a facility for unaccompanied migrant children here in D.C. and anywhere else in the country. I believe that if we’re going to support people, then we should do it in a humane and dignified manner,” Ward 4 Councilmember Brandon Todd, who represents the area, told The Globe Post.
The protest lasted for more than two hours, accompanied by music and songs from the key anthem of the Civil Rights Movement ‘we shall overcome’ to Woody Guthrie’s ‘This land is your land,’ considered by some Americans to be an alternative national anthem.