Families continue to protest east downtown Houston facility

"I really feel very strongly that it’s wrong to be detaining, to be separated from their families, especially the youngest, the ones that are nonverbal, the ones that can’t speak,” says Michelle Shaw, describing children who have been reported to have been separated from their parents along the Texas-Mexico border.

Michelle is a mother of two children and talked about how some of the detained children are so young that they were still breastfeeding. She brought out her posters, but also her five-year-old daughter Ophelia. The teacher says she wanted to show her daughter a teachable moment by voicing her 1st Amendment rights.

“We are at a protest about kids and baby jails,” says young Ophelia.

The building, currently rented by Southwest Key, has been on the news for weeks as a possible detention center for immigrant children and/or families.

"We don’t want them to start bringing in folks under the radar and things like that," says Cesar Espinosa, executive director of FIEL. "We want to be here, we want to be vigilant to see what and we when they bring people in.”

"The fence here, it’s hard to see because they have some screening up on it, but you have a whole lot of employees who are showing up, a whole lot of employees," says Dr. David Michael Smith with the Houston Socialist Movement and Free Los Niños Coalition. "Inside, we’ve heard unconfirmed reports that equipment like beds are beginning to arrive and so forth, so we are here today to say no detention center not for children not for families we don’t believe in detailing migrants.” 

The group, including Ophelia, marched on Thursday evening and chanted their demands.

“No baby jails, kids need their parents!,” yelled Ophelia.

“I really hope I see a lot more mothers, especially with children showing up, and saying this is not okay," adds Michelle. "It doesn't matter that these children are not of my blood, it’s simply not okay to separate any family, any child of any age, and take them from their parents in this way.”