Protesters demand new children's detention center be closed

HOUSTON, Texas (KTRK) -- The pressure to stop a new immigrant children's detention center from opening continues to heat up in downtown Houston.

On Friday, Harris County Pct. 1 Commissioner Rodney Ellis rallied protesters outside the unmarked facility at the corner of Emancipation and Prairie.

"What's going on with this federal immigration program is not Texas, those are not Texas values," said Ellis.

"This is, this is so bad," said Maria Lira.

She told Eyewitness News anger and frustration over the images of children locked in large cages, separated from their families at the Texas border, brought her to the protest.

"First time I couldn't, I couldn't watch it," she said.

We know more than 2,300 children have been separated from their families since May.

The Trump administration says some of the children who were with Customs and Border Protection have been reunited with their families.

"As of June 22, 2018, CBP expects that all unaccompanied children in their custody who were separated from adults who were being prosecuted will have been reunited with their families. There will be a small number of children who were separated for reasons other than zero tolerance that will remain separated (generally the familial relationship cannot be confirmed, we believe the adult is a threat to the safety of the child, or the adult is a criminal alien."

This does not include children who are now under the care of Health and Human Services, which ABC News reports is the vast majority of the separated kids.

President's Trump's executive order to allow children to stay with their parents in detention does not satisfy these protestors.

"We ask that anybody that has children put themselves in these children's shoes and it's still a very traumatic experience for them to be detained and be deprived of their liberty," said Cesar Espinosa, the executive director of FIEL Houston and the organizer of the protest.

He told Eyewitness News they want the children and families seeking asylum to be processed, given a court date and released from detention all together.

They want the facility being prepped to detain children to be shut down for good.

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