JACKSON—As Hurricane Barry threatened to flood their city, New Orleans residents Sarah Bechdel and Rose Falvey fled to Jackson last week. The storm, it seemed, had put a damper on their plans to attend a pro-immigrant protest in the Crescent City, to stand against the Trump administration's policies and its use of Louisiana prisons to hold migrants.
On the eve of the storm, though, Bechdel and Falvey found themselves standing outside the U.S. District Courthouse in Jackson, each holding sign with the words, "Close the Camps."
They joined several dozen protesters, some holding a large yellow sign with the words, "Immigrants Rights Are Human Rights"—an echo of the phrase, "Women's Rights Are Human Rights."
Private Org Opening Detention Center in Natchez
Mississippi Immigrants Rights Alliance, or MIRA, President Bill Chandler wants to stop the opening of a second migrant detention facility in the state.
"We are here to draw attention to the detention centers. We are appalled at what is happening, and we know that is going to begin happening here in Mississippi, because they are moving the Adams County Correctional Facility from the bureau of prisons to ICE (Immigration and Customs Enforcement), and they're increasing the bed count to 3,000 over there. And that is part of the continuing struggle that immigrants are having when they come to the U.S. and seek asylum."
The Trump administration has rounded up hundreds of thousands of immigrants over the past year, placing them in crowded camps, often with poor care. ICE has entire camps filled with thousands of children whom the government separated from their parents, and some have been there for months.
ICE began using Mississippi's Tallahatchie Correctional Facility to house detained migrants in February. At the Adams County Correctional Facility in Natchez, Corrections Office Catlin Carithers died amidst a riot in 2012 that injured 16 other staff