Activists protest illegal immigrant detention in Waco - KXXV-TV News Channel 25 - Central Texas News and Weather for Waco, Temple, Killeen |

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Activists protest illegal immigrant detention in Waco

WACO, TX (KXXV) - More than a dozen immigrants rights activists protested the detention of illegal immigrants at the Jack Harwell Detention Center in Waco. The local protest aims to treat these people better.

Immigrant rights activists want to end the detention of illegal immigrants nationwide, but more specifically, at the Jack Harwell Detention Center.

“They’re tearing families apart. Families and individuals are just living in fear,” said Kent McKeever, a Waco attorney. “The majority of them are strictly civil detainees in the immigration system,” said Susan Nelson, a Waco attorney.

“This center was meant to be a prison, it was meant to hold people with criminal convictions, not to hold people who are there on civil immigration matters,” said Cristina Parker, Grassroots Leadership Immigration Projects Coordinator.

The detention center has nearly 250 beds reserved for immigrants. A government mandate requires customs authorities to hold nearly 34,000 immigrants a day at detention centers across the U.S.

Protestors say the conditions are poor and the center lacks resources, like a useful law library.

"If you’re an immigrant in detention or facing deportation, you have no right to an attorney because of the very fact that it’s not an actual crime. It's not a criminal matter," said Parker. So most of the folks who are in immigrant detention or facing deportation don’t have access to or can’t afford an attorney.”

This makes accessing legal materials essential for detainees who want to plead their case.

After their demonstration, protestors dropped off legal materials at the detention center.
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