WASHINGTON, D.C. (WDVM) – Hundreds of people gathered near the Washington, D.C. and Montgomery County, Md. border to oppose the development of a holding center for immigrant children.
“We’re saying no to it for these children, we’re saying ‘no’ for the children here tonight because we don’t want them to grow up in a country where this is normal government procedure,” said Takoma Park Mayor Kate Stewart.
Protesters say the Laurel St. NW building could soon become a holding center that could accommodate around 200 unaccompanied immigrant children.
Washington Mayor Muriel Bowser has been able to stop the development of the property. If it moves forward, protesters and local elected officials say it would be operated by for-profit Maryland developer Dynamic Service Solutions.
“The sad part is, that this is a company that is in my county, and I’m ashamed to say that,” said Deni Tavernas, a Prince George’s County council member.
The protest brought out people from across the National Capital area, many protesters bringing their children along.
“I have kids, they’re growing up. I can’t imagine being a parent and not knowing where they are and they’re stuck in someplace. It’s not right in my opinion,” said Mike Miehl, a resident of nearby Silver Spring.
“If a detention facility goes forward, against this strong opposition, I want it to be known that we will welcome people with open arms and they will know that we see their humanity,” said Mayor Stewart.
Around a dozen local organizations have endorsed the protest’s mission.