Brandishing signs declaring “Human beings don’t belong in cages” and “Close the camps,” dozens of activists rallied Friday night in Morristown to protest conditions in U.S. immigration detention facilities.
Hundreds of similar “Lights for Liberty” vigils were planned across America and on five continents.
The rallies came amid reports that the Trump Administration was planning weekend raids on undocumented individuals to discourage migration to the U.S.
At least five children have died in Border Patrol custody, or after being released, since December, according to the Associated Press. Overcrowding, unsanitary conditions and outbreaks of shingles and other illnesses have been reported in border detention facilities.
The United Nations’ top human rights official, Michelle Bachelet, this week said she was “appalled” by the situation. “This should never happen anywhere,” she said.
Her comments followed a report by the U.S. Department of Homeland Security inspector general citing dangerous overcrowding in Texas detention centers.
Last weekend, President Trump praised efforts by immigration officers to deal with the influx of people.
Many of the migrants were “very happy” with their new conditions, Trump said, because of the “extreme poverty” they came from.
Morristown’s rally started outside town hall and proceeded to the Morristown Green.
The Lights for Liberty coalition includes the American Federation of Teachers, Indivisible, the Women’s March, CASA and the Immigrant Defense Project.
Elizabeth Cronise McLaughlin, a lawyer and activist, helped organize Friday’s events.