About 100 demonstrators marched down Mission Street on Saturday, Aug. 2 in support of the more than 57,000 detained Central American minors who have been caught at the U.S. border. Photo Alejandro Galicia.

Edwin Lindo could see the encroaching carnage of civil war in his native Nicaragua. And to escape it all, Lindo (then 17) and his siblings—without the company of their parents—made their way north.

“He said, ‘I can stay and fight, and [I] might die, or I [can] go with my family,’” recalled Lindo’s son, who is also named Edwin. “My parents came from El Salvador and from Nicaragua. And if they hadn’t come, I wouldn’t be standing here right now, fighting.”

The younger Lindo was one of more than 100 demonstrators who marched up Mission Street Aug. 2, emotionally voicing their support for the thousands of undocumented Central American minors who have been placed in detention centers along the southwest border.

More than 57, 000 unaccompanied immigrant minors—the vast majority of them fleeing the violence-ridden countries of Honduras, Guatemala, and El Salvador—have been apprehended at the U.S. border in this fiscal year alone, according to figures released by U.S. Customs and Border Protection. The figures mark a 106 percent increase from the previous year.

“We can’t disengage from it; we have to stay involved. Many of these kids have families here,” said Estela Garcia, executive director of Instituto Familiar de la Raza, a multi-service organization in The Mission. “Things have changed in our country because of people organizing and we believe in that. That’s our power.”

Garcia was one of the many demonstrators with flags, loudspeakers and banners in hand reading “All children are sacred,” who gathered at 16th and Mission streets around noon Saturday, and proceeded to march southbound to the 24th Street BART plaza. Garcia marched alongside her partner and two nephews: 7-year-old Carlos and 11-year-old Isaiah.

“They need to understand what’s happening with these children,” Garcia said. “They have to learn. The only way to teach them is to bring them.”

On July 15, the San Francisco Board of Supervisors passed Supervisor David Campos’ resolution that dedicates resources to children currently in detention centers.

“But that doesn’t mean that we’ve helped the kids that are still at the border,” said Lindo, who works as an aid for Campos. “So now we need to figure out: ‘How do we work on a larger scale with the state—with the country?’ and say: ‘We need to do something for the kids who are still detained.’”

One key issue that remains for these detained minors is the lack of legal advice and education. Campos and organizations such as the Central American Resources Center (CARECEN) are currently working to get lawyers to the U.S. border to represent these minors, many of whom are claiming their nationality to be Mexican, without knowing that such a claim will get them deported to Mexico.

“If you say you’re from a different county and not Mexico, there’s actually a process to allow you into the country [United States],” said Lindo.

The Office of Refugee Resettlement estimates the number of unaccompanied immigrant youth to climb to 60,000 by the end of the fiscal year in September.

“We know that this is the beginning,” said Garcia, who has seen 10-15 kids come through her door in the last month. “It’s going to increase and that’s OK.”

The rally ended around 2 p.m. with various speakers and poetry readings.