Lowcountry protest held to stop ICE detention camps

Updated: Jul. 14, 2019 at 9:50 AM EDT
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CHARLESTON, S.C. (WCSC) - Hundreds gathered in North Charleston to call for an end to ICE detention centers.

The “Lights for Liberty” vigil was part of a national movement which included 700 cities across the globe.

People came together on Riverfront Park on Friday to bring awareness to immigrants being held in detention centers, as well as the treatment to children.

Several immigrants have died in U.S custody under the current administration, and as CBS News reports, at least five of them were children.

Fernando Soto was one of the event planners and he says this issue is not political, but a human issue.

“This is non-partisan. I don’t care if people are democrats or republicans,” Soto said. “Children’s lives shouldn’t be politicized.”

Speakers read the names of those children who died, and also read letters from ICE detainees that are currently being held.

As many held a moment of silence for those children, they also thought about the detention center here in North Charleston.

The Al Cannon Detention Center in North Charleston works with immigration officials and serves as an immigration holding facility.

As of Monday, Charleston County Sheriff’s Capt. Roger Antonio said the center had approximately a dozen detainees.

Soto says many are asylum seekers. He translated for many of them while they were placed there.

“For them to be detained, for them to be separated from their families and children is really inhumane and yes it goes against what the established US law is as of right now,” Soto said.

The Charleston County Sheriff’s office says the detention center in North Charleston isn’t taking in anyone from out of state but will take in any ICE detainees arrested in South Carolina.

Many people at the protest hope that the activism doesn’t stop at this protest, and that people in Lowcountry will get more involved and bring change to the community.

EDITOR’S NOTE: An earlier version of this story incorrectly reported the number of ICE detainees housed at the Al Cannon Detention Center. The number has been corrected.

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