Jewish protest group demonstrators arrested outside migrant center

About 115 protesters showed up at the Casa Sunzal facility in Houston and five of them were charged with a misdemeanor. Members of Never Again Action, a Jewish protest group, held a rally outside the Casa Sunzal detention facility Monday and when some blocked a roadway, arrests were made. A co-organizer of the group protest said they use their bodies as well as their voices in peaceful demonstrations.

Elizabeth Harberer, co-organizer of the rally at the migrant facility, said the event was peaceful and was a way to “demonstrate with our voices and bodies that we will not stand by as the systemic dehumanization against migrants continues to unfold in our country.”

According to court records, the five participants were charged with a misdemeanor – obstructing a highway. The police didn’t want to have to arrest them but the feelings of a few do not override the public’s safety in a city of millions. The protesters were given many warnings which they ignored. The arrests occurred around 7:30 P.M. Monday.

Houston Police Assistant Chief Larry Satterwhite said police had to make the arrests Monday after protesters were given numerous opportunities to leave the road.

“It’s very unfortunate, because we did everything we could to get them to comply, to get them to leave the street,” Satterwhite said. “The thing is we can’t block the roadways. We have ambulances that come through here. We have people who are getting home and want to get to their families.”

Satterwhite made a point of saying the Houston Police Department “supported first-amendment expression” but public safety was compromised when protesters sat down in the roadway, blocking vehicles from passing.

“I understand the passions are very high on this issue and many others frankly because there is all kinds of issues that are protested in the city,” he said. “That’s our country and it’s fantastic but we also have to obey the laws and respect that too.”

The Casa Sunzal facility is operated by Southwest Key, an Austin-based non-profit organization. The detention facility has the capacity to house 200 minors. It has been at the center of anti-ICE protests from the open borders crowd from the very beginning when Southwest Key announced its plans for the facility, including suing the City of Houston over permitting issues. Sylvester Turner, the Mayor of Houston, has openly opposed the facility from the beginning. The original plans for the facility to hold 240 immigrant minors aged 17 and under were scaled back. The detention facility provides medical care, counseling and educational services. At the end of June, presidential candidate Beto O’Rourke held a rally to demand the closing of Casa Sunzal.

Southwest Key describes the Casa Sunzal facility as a shelter, not a detention center. The claim that the minors are “dehumanized” is how the liberal left tugs at the emotions of observers. The goal of the facility is to reunite the minors with their parents or guardians.

“As Jews, we were taught to never let anything like the Holocaust happen again and that’s why we are taking action against ICE and CBP.” That is in the bio section of Never Again Houston’s Twitter account. While the group may see themselves as some kind of social justice warriors railing against the bad Orange Man and immigration law, the comparison to the Holocaust is unfathomable. ICE and CBP are not marching human beings off to gas chambers and their execution. ICE and CBP are doing their jobs, enforcing immigration laws. The people being “dehumanized” are the ICE and CPB agents, not the migrants. This kind of rhetoric only serves to ratchet up violence and prey on the twisted logic of some unstable protesters. The group even uses the vocabulary of the Holocaust, referring to detention facilities and shelters as concentration camps.

Never Again Action has organized events across the country in recent weeks. At the beginning of August, the Los Angeles office of the GEO Group, a private prison company that runs federal migrant detention facilities, was the group’s target. The activists demand that ICE is shut down but offer no alternatives or solutions to the chaos on the southern border. Are we to simply allow minors and adults crossing the border illegally to just roam free? Secure borders are the first line of defense for a country’s safety and sovereignty.

If groups like this are so concerned about the treatment of others, they would be working on stopping human trafficking and the exploitation of children and women as they seek a better life. They should be petitioning Congress to reform immigration laws, not endangering ICE and CBP agents who are only doing their jobs.

The group’s website includes a map of the United States and the locations of their targets are pinned. Demonstrations began on June 30 and continue throughout the summer, with one planned for Wednesday, as I write this, in Rhode Island.

This is not the 1940s and enforcing immigration laws is not comparable to the atrocities of the Holocaust. To conflate the two is a slap in the face to the families and survivors of the actual Holocaust. I have Jewish ancestry on the paternal side of my family – my grandfather’s family immigrated from Austria. The conflation coming from the unhinged #Resist crowd is maddening. It’s just plain wrong.

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