Vigils Scheduled In Jacksonville, St. Augustine To Protest Immigrant Detention Camps

Jul 10, 2019

Vigils to end immigrant detention camps at the southern U.S. border will take place around the country this Friday night, including here on the First Coast.

Basma Alawee with the Florida Immigrant Coalition said on First Coast Connect with Melissa Ross Wednesday that thousands of children - from infants to teenagers - are being held at a facility in Homestead, near Miami.

“It’s the largest children’s detention camp in the country with approximately 2,700 young people. It’s soon going to be more than the Homestead High School,” she said.

Reports of unsanitary conditions, of overcrowding, of assaults and abuse have mobilized activists nationwide.  St. Augustine attorney Toby Gailluca is with the Lights for Liberty coalition, which is the group that organized the upcoming vigils.

“Our mission is to first of all provide a platform for impacted people and communities to tell their story and educate the public on the situation we’re facing at the border. Secondly we would like to further mobilize the population in an effort to drive change,” Gailluca said.

Lights for Liberty vigils are set for Friday night at 7 at Castillo de San Marcos in St. Augustine and at 8 at Friendship Fountain on Jacksonville’s Southbank.

Contact reporter Cyd Hoskinson at, 904-358-6351 and on Twitter at @cydwjctnews.