Police: It's the largest protest Artesia has ever seen

Created: 08/17/2014 9:44 PM
By: Lauren Hansard, KOB Eyewitness News 4

Artesia police are calling it the largest protest the city has ever seen. Sunday hundreds of protestors gathered outside the Federal Law Enforcement Training Center where immigrant woman and children are being held. The center that trains border patrol agents became the scene of an immigration rally.

Hundreds marched, sang, and chanted. The immigrant activist group Somos Un Pueblo Unido rallied for an end to deportations.

"They should not be there, where they're detained right now is no place for children," said Gerard Escamilla.

The group says the immigrants should not be detained, but welcomed to seek refuge in the United States.

"We believe the people should be free," said Noel Marquez.

The activists came in all ages. 7-year-old Paikea Marquez doesn't think they should be deported either.

"Because, they're going to be sent back to Mexico where they're getting killed," said Marquez.

But this group of protestors wasn't the only one there. Another group, standing for Americans, was also there protesting the immigrants should be sent back to their home countries.

"They need to be deported back home, this is not a daycare center," said Debbie Shearman. "It's a training center for border patrol agents who detain these people and send them back home."

As the protestors were standing on top of a truck chanting over the fence, the immigrants on the other side were watching.

The immigrants stood outside the detention center as the activists were chanted, but the immigrants were cheering right back.

It was a powerful moment that let the immigrants know Somos Un Pueblo Unido is fighting for them.

"We're here to show that we haven't lost our values, we're still human beings and we're here to stand up for them," said Noel Marquez.

Right now, arrivals and deportations at the facility are currently on hold after an unknown number of detainees got the chicken pox.

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