Walmart says they were “surprised and deeply disturbed” after learning a former store in Brownsville, Texas was being used as a detainment shelter for migrant children who had been separated from their parents—though a group in Chicago says the company’s not telling the truth.
Although the United Food and Commercial Workers are more than 1,400 miles away from Brownsville, they say what’s happening to immigrant children there has a direct impact in the windy city.
Moises Zavala with UFCW and Cook County Commissioner Jesus “Chuy” Garcia, were part of the group who gathered outside a Walmart store in the Little Village neighborhood.
“We think it’s shameful that a company like Walmart who is in an immigrant community right here, making money out of this community and siding with the forces that is terrorizing immigrant children,” said UFCW Moises Zavala.
They say Walmart sold their store in Texas knowing it would be transformed into a detention center, now known as 'Casa Padre.'
“The Latino community is a huge consumer of Walmart products and Walmart needs to be respectful and sensitive about decision(s) it makes,” said Cook County Commissioner Jesus “Chuy” Garcia.
On June 14, Walmart released a statement saying “we sold the building in 2016 to a developer and had no knowledge then of its intended use today. This is a tragic issue facing our country.”
Anahi Tapia Torres, an organizer at “Making Change @ Walmart," said the group did their research and was able to get a hold of the deed of trust. they discovered that a nonprofit group called 'SouthWest Key Programs' runs Casa Padre under a federal contract.
The group is asking the public to boycott the company until it decides to make a change.
“Chuy” Garcia said he plans to formally write a letter to Walmart Corporate to voice concerns on behalf of his constituents.