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North Texans Still Plan To Protest Saturday At Detention Centers Along Border

Stella M. Chavez
North Texas community leaders spoke out Wednesday against President Trump's policy of separating families detained at the border. The press conference at Dallas City Hall took place as Trump signed an executive order to halt the separation of families.

President Trump Wednesday signed an executive order ending his controversial policy of separating children from their families at the U.S.-Mexico border.

It’s not clear yet how these children will be reunited with their parents. In Dallas, city and community leaders gathered at City Hall to speak out about what’s been happening along the border.

Activists from across North Texas plan to head to South Texas on Saturday for what's being called a "National Free the Children Protest."

Domingo Garcia, president of the Dallas chapter of the League of United Latin American Citizens, says they’ll join others from across the state.

“From San Antonio, from Corpus Christi, from Laredo, Houston -- we're all going to McAllen, Texas, to the McAllen Ursula detention center where children are being kept,” he said.

Activists will travel by bus and plan to visit three detention centers along the border, including where the youngest of children are being housed, Garcia said.

One of those people who will join him is Rev. Peter Johnson, a longtime civil rights leader and member of the Southern Christian Leadership Conference.

“All I have seen in these 73 years have not offended me as much as this has offended me," Johnson said. "I’ve seen insides of more than 100 jails. I have never seen nothing as offensive and disgraceful and un-Christian-like as this is. We must go to the Valley and stand up for children who cannot stand up for themselves.”

The speakers represented a diverse cross-section of North Texas. Latino, black, white. Christian and Muslim. While they spoke, news broke that President Trump would sign an executive order to stop the separation of families.

Omar Suleiman with Faith Forward Dallas said changing the policy wouldn’t be enough, considering the Trump administration’s stance toward immigrants and refugees.

“You can’t just say that we’re going to stop putting people in concentration camps," he said. "What about those that have already been put in concentration camps? You can’t just say that we’re going to stop detaining people in airports. What about our disgraceful record on refugees under administration?”

In North Texas, some officials are offering to help house immigrant families who’ve been detained along the border.

Dallas County Judge Clay Jenkins on Monday had gotten the go-ahead from federal officials to start scouting locations to shelter unaccompanied children. But by Wednesday evening, officials told him local shelters were no longer needed. 

In Fort Worth, the Catholic Diocese says it has placed some immigrant children in its facility run by Catholic Charities.