Mass protests in San Francisco over inhumane conditions at border detention centers

It was a long day of protests in San Francisco and around the Bay With the impending threat of raids by U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement this weekend here in the Bay Area and across the country, demonstrators showed up with flags and signs . 

Outside ICE headquarters on Sansome Street in San Francisco, many vented their frustrations on how families are kept after coming to the U.S. illegally. 

"This country was built on illegal immigrants, but we tell them you don't have the standards," said Jessica Aguallo-Hurtado, a member of the Brown Berets group, a pro-Mexican-Chicano social justice organization dating back to the 1960s civil rights movement. "My father came here in the 1950s. My father actually swam here three times. On the third time, he made it through and established himself in San Francisco."

She said the way some people are being treated currently is why she's still out here fighting. 

Because she knows her father's account, she said getting to the U.S. and becoming a citizen the "right way" isn't easy. 

"They have to own property. These people are the most impoverished in their own countries, and they don't have the money in the bank that requires their government to give them a passport, to give the documents needed to come here legally," Aguallo-Hurtado said. 

Many at the protest feel that the living conditions that the children who were separated from their parents crossing the border illegally is inhumane. They said having them live in detention centers is wrong and some even go on to equate these facilities to the same ones Jewish people were forced to live in during the Holocaust. 

"The word has been used by people before and since the Holocaust. They are concentration camps. People are being held in them against their will," said Marge Sussman with Jewish Voice for Peace. 

"We are allowing these children to die not through gas, but through lack of medical care. Through lace of rescoures," Aguallo-Hurtado said. 

"Putting so much attention on [use of the word Holocaust] is taking the attention away from what is actually happening in those camps," Sussman said. 

Meanwhile, Democrats in the U.S. Senate have introduced the 'Stop Cruelty to Migrant Children Act', sponsored by U.S. senators from California Kamala Harris and Dianne Feinstein. It would require that children in detention centers get three nutritious meals a day, access to regular showers and ban for-profit contractors from opening new shelters to house immigrant children. 

The bill has 38 cosponsors in the Senate. It is unclear if Senate Majority leader Mitch McConnell will allow the bill to get a vote on the Senate floor.