LOS ANGELES (CBSLA.com) — Immigration-reform advocates packed the streets of downtown Los Angeles on Monday, urging political leaders and the public to have compassion in dealing with immigrants who have illegally entered the United States.
KCAL9’s Adrianna Weingold reports hundreds marched outside the Federal Building, pushing for immigration reform, immigrants rights and safe passage for children seeking refuge.
“It’s about the fact that we’re obviously seeing an incredible influx in these Central American kids coming to the United States, escaping the severe violence and poverty in Central America and not receiving their due protection and their due process under the law here in the United States,” said Federico Bustamante, Program Director of Casa Libre Youth Shelter.
Even immigrant children, one as young as 9, spoke out.
Julia says she represents the children crossing the border and asked people around the world for compassion.
“Children are human and deserve to have their family around them,” she said.
Meanwhile in San Diego, another flight from the Texas-Mexico border arrived carrying immigrants. Buses then took them to San Ysidro.
“We need to close the borders and we need to give them a path if they want to get here legally, just like every other immigrant that’s entered this country and has had the privilege of living here,” one protester said.
But in downtown L.A., it remained a different story.
Crowds in favor of immigration and in favor of protecting immigrants say many children crossing the border are fleeing violence and corruption from gangs and organized crime.
Dr. Leisy Abrego, a professor at UCLA and an immigrant herself, said many children have no choice but to run away. But she believes many are being unfairly treated once they reach the U.S.
“It’s heartbreaking to see that children who risk their lives to find safety for themselves are being treated like pawns in a political theater, really,” Abrego said.
Many of the downtown protesters say they will continue to fight for the tens of thousands of children being detained in the U.S. until they’re reunited safely with the families.