Dozens protest treatment of migrants arriving in U.S.

In Houston, dozens began their Fourth of July protesting outside Southwest Key's Casa Sunzal.

The facility opened earlier this year to shelter unaccompanied minors who are 16 and 17-years-old.

The recent images of overcrowded migrant detention centers in south and west Texas prompted the protest.

 "I couldn’t in good conscience celebrate the so-called birth of my nation when there are children being held in cages," said Lauren Salomon who attended the protest with her husband and son. 

"It's good to celebrate, but we need to keep in mind [the U.S.] is not perfect, and we need to step up and just try to make the nation a better place," said Robby, Lauren's son.

"I think for this to go on in our country, especially thinking about it on 4th if July is just totally intolerable," said Polly Johnson, a protestor.

Free Los Niños, or Free the Children Coalition, organized the protest. The group began in response to Casa Sunzal.

"We began opposing it very step of the way," said David Michael Smith with the coalition.

Smith cites the convictions of Southwest Key employees at other facilities for sexual abuse as a reason to shut down Casa Sunzal. 

Protestors believe President Trump is being unfair to asylum seekers and wants to keep them detained.

"Continuing to celebrate the Fourth of July while ignoring people [who] are denied their freedom that is guaranteed to them under asylum law whether they're United States immigration laws or international laws is another atrocity that should not be celebrated," said Sema Hernandez, a community activist and organizer.

"We are not respecting their right to even have a fair hearing, a due process, we are just jailing them and trying to make examples of them so other people that are suffering, that are seeking asylum will be deterred from coming here legally to seek asylum. I think that goes against the grain of what this country is, what it was founded on, who we are," said Miguel Salomon, a protester.

In response to the protest, Joella Brooks, interim CEO of Southwest Key, said in a statement:

“Every day, hundreds of children arrive at our southern border fleeing poverty, violence and abuse. We believe every one of them – regardless of color, nationality, background or circumstances – has intrinsic value and dignity. We are not a detention facility. We are a licensed child care center and, following federal guidelines and the Flores Agreement, provide the best possible care for these young men and women. We offer education, recreation and access to pro bono legal counsel. That’s what they deserve after many of these youth have already endured significant trauma in their home countries or on their dangerous journeys to the U.S.  Every child deserves an opportunity to create a brighter future for themselves. That’s what our team does every day as they work to safely and quickly reunify them with a family member or sponsor.”