500 people protest border detention centers at House Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s office

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Five hundred Jewish people and allies marched to House Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s office in San Francisco on Friday morning to protest what many are calling concentration camps at the United States-Mexico border, which currently hold undocumented immigrants in allegedly terrible conditions.

The protesters barricaded the San Francisco Federal Building and blocked 7th Street for about three hours. They held signs that read “Never Again Is Now” and “Nancy, Close the Camps” with a phone number for her to call the participants.

The event was organized by Never Again Action, a Jewish activist group dedicated to “never (letting) anything like the Holocaust happen again,” according to the group’s website. According to a Friday press release by Never Again Bay Area, the protesters marched specifically in support of closing the camps at the border; defunding U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement, or ICE, and U.S. Customs and Border Protection, or CBP; and providing permanent legal protection for undocumented immigrants, refugees and asylum-seekers.

“I cannot say ‘never again’ to my child when the U.S. government is tearing kids who look like her from their families and locking them in cages to die—the same cages where we have been imprisoning trans, queer, and Black migrants in inhumane conditions for years,” said Jill Marcellus, who attended the event in San Francisco, in the press release. “As a Jew, as a nonbinary person, and as a parent, I am here to shut down a system built to terrorize our communities, because never again is now.”

Similar marches were held by Never Again Action last week in other cities across the United States, including Boston, New York City and Los Angeles, and more protests are planned for later this week. Protesters could be heard chanting many slogans, such as “Nunca Más Ahora – Never Again Is Now” and “Abolish ICE now,” according to the press release. In San Francisco, participants read the names of children who have allegedly died due to ICE and CBD’s “inhumane” policies.

According to Isabel Alter, protesters also called Pelosi’s office simultaneously during the march to demand that the camps be shut down. As of press time, Pelosi’s office has yet to make a public statement regarding the matter. On Tuesday, Pelosi tweeted a photo of the letter she reportedly sent to the president asking for accountability at the border. It made no mention of closing the camps or abolishing ICE or CBP.

“We refuse to be complicit,” said Binya Kóatz in the press release. “We refuse to sit back and hope for change. Never again is now.”

Contact Kate Finman at [email protected] and follow her on Twitter at @KateFinman_DC.