Activists, Labor Groups Meet at Congresswoman’s Office to Protest Conditions at Migrant Detention Centers

SACRAMENTO -- The gathering of labor organizations, faith-based groups and community activists left a meeting with Rep. Doris Matsui's office Thursday after letting her staff know that the housing of asylum seekers is out of hand.

Recent photographs taken of detention centers showing horrid conditions is striking a nerve among critics of President Donald Trump’s immigration policies. They are confirmed by those who have witnessed those concerns in person.

"These children aren't getting soap, they're not getting water, they're not getting food, they're not even getting clean bedding,” said Tina Mayorga, the chair of the Labor Council for Latin American Advancement.

Protestors said those in the centers are not illegal immigrants but asylum seekers that waiting for the chance to make their case but there aren't enough judges to handle the load.

"Everybody should be treated with respect and dignity, nobody should be locked up in cages,” said Blanca Centeno with AFSCME Local 3299.

Some Thursday were critical of Rep. Matsui, D-Sacramento, and other Democrats for signing on to a $4.5 billion funding bill that they say perpetuates and funds such facilities.

Some said no money should be spent on improving conditions. Instead, detainees should live with families in the U.S. until their cases are reviewed.

"It's very unfortunate that we're even having this conversation and that Congresswoman Matsui's office voted for that,” said Irvis Oroszco with the Labor Council for Latin American Advancement.

Others praised the congresswoman's stand against the conditions at detention centers.

Matsui is going on a fact-finding trip to the border this weekend, saying in a statement:

We cannot stand idly by and allow this to happen. That’s why I am heading to the U.S.-Mexico border to provide oversight and investigate different avenues for us to hold the Trump Administration accountable and end this tragic chapter in our history. I will take Sacramento’s voices and values with me, ask the questions on your mind, and engage with community leaders in the coming months to help provide relief and end the human suffering at the border.

Still, many said this a time for action instead of rhetoric.

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