Presidential Candidate Julian Castro joins union for immigrant rights rally in Houston

Democratic presidential hopeful Julián Castro joining hundreds of SEIU Texas leaders outside the Southwest Key facility at 419 Emancipation Avenue on Saturday afternoon.

Union members from across the state were in Houston for a leadership summit.

"They didn't want to go home without the opportunity to come to this center and speak about our position when it comes to separation of families, when it comes to basically jailing children," said Elsa Caballero, Texas State Director of SEIU Texas.

Supporters from other groups joined in including Mi Familia Vota and members of Texas AFL-CIO.

"We work in collaboration with SEIU. The Texas AFL- CIO and the National AFL- CIO are against detention centers and against putting families in cages and, in a way, terrorizing children," said Monserrat Garibay, Secretary-Treasurer of the Texas AFL-CIO.

The facility known as Casa Sunzal holds unaccompanied 16-and-17 year-old migrants. Most are from Central America.

Castro suggests resources should be focused on reuniting them with family in the U.S., not detaining them.

"We want to make sure that these young people get into loving homes of their family members who are here in this country or to sponsors who are willing to give them a loving home," Castro told reporters.

In statement to FOX 26 News, Southwest Key said:

"There are no cages, jails or guards in our shelters. We are not a detention facility. Every youth sleeps in his or her own bed in a dormitory-style setting with 2-3 beds in each room. Youth here are 16 and 17-year-olds from Guatemala, Honduras and El Salvador, the vast majority coming to the U.S. on their own to escape poverty, violence or danger in their countries.

Our goal is to unify unaccompanied minors with sponsors as swiftly as possible while abiding by strict federal requirements required to ensure their safety. The majority of our youth are united with a sponsor to begin their new life in the U.S. within 35 days."

During the rally, people held up cut-outs of Texas Senator John Cornyn's face as well as a life-size cardboard cut-out of him.

"Since he won't come and meet with us that's the only thing we could do," Caballero said laughing.

"We're trying to make sure that Senator Cornyn understands that this community here in Texas expects for him to listen to what we have to say," she added.

"My message for Senator Cornyn and Senator Ted Cruz is to stop using immigrants as their political football and actually do something -- have some type of comprehensive immigration reform," Garibay told FOX 26.

FOX 26 reached out to Senator Cornyn's office for a statement. We have not heard back yet.