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.
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.
Report by Gloria in Workers World: Houston actions support immigrant workers