Dozens of activists protest outside the gates of Moffett Boulevard

Immigrant advocates gathered in Mountain View at 3 p.m. today to protest against the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services’ recent consideration of Moffett Field, formerly known as Sunnyvale Naval Station, as a temporary shelter for unaccompanied migrant children.

At the protest, coordinated by the Services, Immigration Rights, and Education Network (SIREN), the crowd chanted while waving homemade and provided signs. Many cars honked in solidarity with the protest. The crowd later huddled up, enduring the rain while hearing protesters’ stories, songs and views about the situation on the border, the state of detention facilities and the Biden administration’s response to the influx of undocumented migrants.

A painting attached to a fence next to the site of the protest.

“These are predictable surges of human beings who are fleeing violence and persecution caused by a century of U.S. foreign policy in the Western Hemisphere,” Pete Weiss, an attorney from Pangea Legal Services, said. “These ‘temporary detention centers’ have a long history of becoming permanent. They get entrenched and they provide jobs and all of a sudden it’s not so temporary anymore.”

The proposal to convert Moffett Field into a detention center comes after a more than 60 percent surge in migrant children in the southwest border over the past two months. According to the March 10 U.S. Customs and Border Protection report, 29,792 unaccompanied children have been found by the border, 2,942 of those under the age of 12.

One attendee emphasized the importance of compassion and accountability.

“We can all empathize with how those parents and children feel, and this cannot continue to happen again,” they said. “We need to stand firm and call on our elected officials. This cannot happen here, not anywhere.”