‘Close the camps now’: Hundreds rally outside State House against border detention camps

BOSTON (WHDH) - Hundreds of protestors who rallied at the State House Friday called on lawmakers to close the detention centers along the Mexican border.

Similar Life for Liberty protests were held all over the country, including several in New England.

“We personally know people that have been there,” one man said. “They live in Lynn now and their little gal, I have met her many times now, she was one of them. She was thrown in the ICE box and her mom is just like, she doesn’t know the word apoplectic, but she is. She just can’t understand how anybody could do that to another human being.”

At the same time, Vice President Mike Pence visited two detention centers in Texas and admitted that what he saw there was “tough.”

He said the conditions are representative of a system that is overwhelmed.

‘The customs and border protection is doing their level best in an overcrowded environment, in a difficult environment to address this issue,” Pence told CNN. “But Congress has got to act to make it possible for us to reduce the numbers of people coming into our country illegally.”

These protests against the detention centers also fall on the eve of nationwide immigration raids when thousands of undocumented immigrants who have already received deportation orders will be arrested.

Boston Mayor Martin J. Walsh said the city has not been contacted by federal authorities asking for participation in those raids.

He said Boston police will not be helping in any way.

“Yea, if they are a violent criminal, they should be arrested,” Walsh said. “If it is somebody who overstayed a visa, I not gonna, we’re not gonna be assisting. The Boston Police Department, we have enough work to do.”

In Boston and across the nation, there is a call for change and a knowledge that vigils alone will not accomplish their intended goals.

“It is nice to come and hold a candle and grief is important. But, we have to take action also,” one protestor said.

The ICE raids that are planned for Sunday will focus on 10 U.S. cities, none of which are in New England.

(Copyright (c) 2019 Sunbeam Television. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.)