Happy Internernational Day of the Migrant!
Students for a Democratic Society and others picked the Houston Processing Center to protest the raids of Mambos restaurants and detaining 33 restaurant workers on suspected immigration violations, on Dec 2nd. The location of the Houston Processing Center is important, as the first private prison in the United States. Private companies operate dozens of detention centers for immigrants across the nation [map].
About 2 dozen protesters gathered on Greens Road and walked a picket line with chants about immigrant rights including; “What do we want? Immigrant Right! How do we get it? Melt the ICE!” “Immigrantes, Escucha, estamos en su lucha” “Immigration is not a crime, why are people doing time?” and “Ariba, Abajo, migra al carajo!” We had a powerful soundsystem that may very well have permeated the thick concrete walls of the detention center. People spoke and sang songs, we did interviews with television reporters, and we then marched to the other side of the facility.
Stop the Raids!
The south side of the facility is the visitor entrance, where during specified hours people can visit their loved ones locked up in the detention center. We sang and chanted more, and then called it a day and left. There was discussion of possibly making vigils at the detention center a monthly event, as well as discussion of upcoming work being done to support Comprehensive Immigration Reform, that may help fix the broken immigration system, which separates families and allows companies like the Corrections Corporation of America to profit off of human misery.
More Photos on Houston Indymedia
Report by Gloria in Workers World: Houston actions support immigrant workers
Stop the Raids!
What: Protest! Free the Mambo 31!
Date: Friday, December 18, 2009
Time: 10:00am – 1:00pm
Location: Houston Processing Center – 5520 Greens Road
This event is endorsed by: Students for a Democratic Society at UH, La Raza Justice Movement, International Action Center, CRECEN/America Para Tod@s, Houston Interfaith Worker Justice Center, doscentavos.net, Brother Jesse Blog, ournewanahuac.net
International Migrants Day is an international day observed on December 18th as International Migrants Day appointed by the General Assembly of United Nations on 4 December 2000 taking into account the large and increasing number of migrants in the world. On 18 December, 1990, the General Assembly adopted the international convention on the protection of the rights of migrant workers and members of their families.
This day is observed in many countries, intergovernmental and non-governmental organizations through the dissemination of information on human rights and fundamental freedoms of migrants, and through sharing of experiences and the design of actions to ensure the protection of migrants. [Background: United Nations | Wikipedia]
Facebook Event | Flier on Houston Indymedia as PDF
Around 20 youngsters from Houston joined Students for a Democratic Society of UH for a protest of the Houston Processing Center as part of the Campaign to End Family Detention. Other participating groups included Houston Anti-Racist Action, International Socialist Organization and whatever the RCP’s youth crew is going by these days.
The Houston Processing Center is the worlds first private prison, it was opened by the Corrections Corporation of America in 1984 in a motel after acquiring a contract from the INS to open up a detention center for people awaiting court hearings on immigration charges. The HPC now has 950 beds. In a quarter of a century the private prison industry has exploded with more than 250 private prisons in the USA. CCA has grown to a capacity a capacity of more than 80,000 beds in 65 correctional facilities.
Our protest started on Greens road where we were visible to traffic, we then marched while chanting and chatting to the visitors entrance on the south side of the facility. Many folks were there waiting on family members who were meeting with people detained inside. We rallied an chanted again and spoke with some of the folks there who shared some of their stories about the plight and stuggles of their loved ones in detention.
Private Prisons? Correct This!
One SDS member spoke in detail of her experience with her family member in detention and shared stories about what daily life is like as well as her experiences dealing with non-existent educational facilities, medical neglect and the specific experiences of specific detainees at the HPC.
While the turnout was small and the press coverage was limited to the Daily Cougar (and Indymedia!) everyone seemed to enjoy themselves and we are gearing up for more creative actions to try and raise attention and hopefully win some victories in the struggle to abolish prisons for profit and immigrant detention.