About 30 protesters stood outside Comprehensive Health Systems in Cape Canaveral on Friday. Malcolm Denemark, FLORIDA TODAY
CAPE CANAVERALÂ â€” Wielding a blue and white bullhorn, Nicole Stark led roughly 40 protesters to chant in unison: “No ICE! No wall! CHS has got to fall!”
On Friday afternoon, a group of demonstrators braved rainfall during a sign-waving protest in front ofÂ Comprehensive Health Services global headquarters on State Road A1A. CHSÂ was contracted by the U.S. Department of Health and Human ServicesÂ to reopen the Homestead Temporary Shelter for Unaccompanied Children.
“CHS is profiting from this through tax cuts and government funding. They’re profiting off human bodiesÂ â€” human lives â€” by not only separating kids, but by keeping people in these detention facilities indefinitely,” said Stark, co-chair of the Orlando Democratic Socialists of America.
“It’s morally reprehensible,” said Stark, who wore a red “Abolish ICE” T-shirt.
A voicemail message seeking comment was left Friday afternoon for the CHS employee who a receptionist said was fieldingÂ media calls.
Demonstrators held signs bearing messages such as “Release the Children,” “Kidnapping Money is Dirty,” and “CHS Gets Tax Breaks to Imprison Babies.”
Protesters occasionally turned toward the CHS global headquarters front door to chant “Shame on you!” and other slogans.
Rep. DebbieÂ Wasserman Schultz said the CHS Homestead facility was being used for an estimated 1,000 children, aged 13 to 17. Last week, the South Florida DemocratÂ co-sponsoredÂ the bipartisan Congressional Access to Children’s Detention Facilities Act, which would allow members of congress and media to visit the facilities during reasonable hours.
Matt Fleming, theÂ Democratic candidate in the Brevard County Commission District 4 race, took his turnÂ at the bullhorn during Friday’s CHS protest.
“Our United States government is committing human rights violations by separating children from their families at the border. These are refugees. And that’s justÂ plain wrong,” Fleming said.
Neale is South Brevard watchdog reporter at FLORIDA TODAY.
Contact Neale at 321-242-3638
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