UCLA students host 'Vigil to End Detention Camps'

An immigration expert told Campus Reform that the event “reaffirms the misunderstanding of the realities.”

Supporters of illegal immigration protested federal policy with a commemorative event.

Student groups at the University of California, Los Angeles hosted a “Vigil to End Detention Camps” earlier in July. 

Sponsored by the Immigrant Youth Task Force at UCLA and the UndocuMed Students and Allies at UCLA, the event was attended by students and even children, The Daily Bruin reported.

The vigil was planned to “protest the inhumane conditions hundreds of immigrant families are currently facing in detention camps across the country,” according to the event page.

Lisa Gantz, a pediatrician working for UCLA who had visited detention centers on the southern border, told The Daily Bruin that one speaker discussed family history with Japanese internment camps during World War II, while another talked about her mother’s deportation.

The event featured a moment of silence and a group photo featuring more than 50 participants. 

[RELATED: Gonzaga finds a way to fund illegal immigrant scholarships]

“UCLA’s ‘vigil’...reaffirms the misunderstanding of the realities occurring at detention centers along the southern border,” Matthew Tragesser, a spokesman for the Federation for American Immigration Reform (FAIR), told Campus Reform.

“While individuals, especially children, should be treated with compassion at these facilities, it must be recognized that the nation’s asylum loopholes and judicial rulings have incentivized migrants, including those with previous criminal convictions and meritless asylum claims, to arrive at our border at record rates,” Tragesser continued. 

The FAIR spokesman noted that immigration authorities lack resources to accommodate the massive influx of people.

“If students at UCLA seek to improve these conditions, they must challenge Congress and call for asylum reform, increased detention space, and additional immigration judges at the southern border,” Tragesser told Campus Reform. “Without these changes, more migrants, including children, will face danger and even death as they attempt to trek northward to the U.S. border.”

Mayra Lucas Ramirez, a medical student and UndocuMed member, also seemed to suggest the inefficacy of the vigil, in remarks to The Bruin

“I feel like sometimes events like these happen and raise awareness for a little bit and everyone cares for a little while, then they forget about it,” Lucas Ramirez said. “At the end of the day, nothing was resolved and these children are still in detention camps.”

[RELATED: NJ doles out $250,000 for law students to rep illegals in court]

Babara Solc, a second-year political science major at UCLA, told Campus Reform that “both sides in the current border question aren’t being represented at UCLA. This situation is presented in black and white, but in reality, there are so many other factors students aren’t discussing.”

Some attendees brought their own children to the vigil, an act Gantz commended, telling The Daily Bruin that “to include [the children] in that conversation and that greater conversation about how we can do better for all children, regardless of what country they were born in, was really inspirational.”

Follow the author of this article on Twitter: @arik_schneider