BROWNSVILLE, TX -- Hundreds of people rallied at the Texas-Mexico border on Thursday, marching in protest outside a courthouse where undocumented immigrants are prosecuted daily.
It was a crowd that grew by the minute.
Folks from all walks of life trickled into the border town of Brownsville, Texas to rally outside the Filemon B. Vela Federal Courthouse holding homemade banners, wearing custom t-shirts, and chanting popular protest anthems.
Civil rights organizations and interfaith groups across the state united in a single front.
“These mothers are leaving everything behind, risking death to come to the United States, and they should be allowed,” said Mary Liuzzi, who represented Interfaith Welcome Coalition from San Antonio. “We should not keep them in detention. We should not separate those families.”
Ten-year-old Tasi Harris brought letters she wrote to immigrant children.
“So, they could have hope to see their family again and [so] they don’t lose hope,” she said.
Her father, Rob, took the opportunity to teach her a lesson, doing his part to drive the family from Austin to the border.
“I don’t have any idea how that’s taken as a child, but trying to show them the good side of it too and how they can help has been an important thing for us,” he said.
After a few hours firing up the crowd at the park in front of the courthouse, hundreds of people began marching to the front entrance, chanting “shut it down!”
A line was formed for people wishing to go into the courthouse to sit in during an immigration hearing. Other protesters swarmed around the courthouse entrance as police tried to keep order.
Tyler resident and retired Army officer Shirley McKellar tried a more civil approach by quietly making a line to go inside.
“I want to make sure that they get due process because I understand that they’re pushing them in and pushing them out without really handling the case,” she said. “I want to be a witness of that.”
In the end, only five people were allowed in to represent the rest, prompting the crowd to call it a day, but not without vowing to continue the fight until their demands are met to reunify immigrant families.