Presidio Demonstration in Support of Immigrant Children

Presidio Demonstration in Support of Immigrant Children

A group gathered in Presidio this weekend to show support for the Central American children crossing the border.
A group gathered in Presidio this weekend to show support for the Central American children crossing the border.

Among the participants was the city’s mayor, who said the area he represents has a different approacjh to immigrants compared to the rest of West Texas.

“Presidio I think in a lot of ways is very different from many other places in west Texas I think you'll find a lot of compassion,” said Mayor John Ferguson.

According to Ferguson, the community has close ties with Mexico, and interacts with those who cross their borders.

“We have a very close relationship with Ojinaga, it's like one big family,” Ferguson said.

The major was invited to the demonstration by organizer Lineaus Lorette, who also organized a demonstration in Marfa.

“We don't turn children away and to turn the children away is wrong,” Lorette said. “There is enough room in this country for fifty thousand more children.”

The Big Bend sector is currently seeing higher numbers of unaccompanied minors arriving at the border near Presidio, according to border patrol agents in the region.

“As far as the volume for here it's fairly new for us because we traditionally have not seen that South American, other than Mexican traffic,” said SBPA Rush Carter from the Border Patrol Big Bend Sector.

And in the case of Central American native, things are different.

“It can be a father, a mother with a child or their children and they enter the United States and basically come up to an agent or wait there for us to come by,” said Omar Morales, the Deputy Patrol Agent in Charge of the Presidio station.

These immigrants are not trying to avoid border patrol or make it deep into the United States. They simply reach the border and surrender to an agent.

“We have seen quite a bit, or quite an increase you can say here in this area,” Morales said.

Many of the immigrants do not understand the U.S. law, Carter said. They come with the hope that getting to the border will allow them to stay and avoid deportation.

Now, demonstrators say the children should be allowed a lawyer and even be allowed to stay in Presidio.

“At the bear minimum we treat them as children not as illegal immigrants,” Ferguson said.

During the protest, Presidio residents chanted and demanded humane treatment for the children.

“Our voices need to be heard,” Lorette said. “The voices of people with compassion and conscience need to be heard that this country does not turn its back on children.”

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