OAKLAND (KCBS) – A small, but vocal group of protesters gathered outside the Federal Building in Oakland Thursday, urging President Obama not to deport immigrant children streaming across the U.S. border illegally.
The group chanted and waved signs, demanding that the U.S. grant asylum to the refugee children, and not send them back home to Central America.
“These children are fleeing from violence in their homes back home and they are really seeking help for their lives,” said Sandy Valenciano with the California Immigrant Youth Justice Alliance. “This wasn’t something they just decided to do off the top of their heads. This was their last resort to the security of their lives.”
Valenciano said existing law requires that children detained at the border be turned over to Health and Human Services. But President Obama wants to weaken that law, so the kids can be deported instead.
Blanca Vazquez with the East Bay Immigrant Youth Coalition said the children are being held in camps in Arizona, Texas and Southern California under inhumane conditions.
“These are no conditions whatsoever for any person, let alone for a child,” she said.
It is not believed that any of the children have reached the Bay Area yet, but some may have family here.