Have you seen the news? Families belong together, yet our Federal government is ripping children from their mother's arms. Please read this message from John Keller of the Immigrant Law Center of MN, and call your Congressperson today!
From May 6 to May 19, 658 children were taken away from their parents at the border. That’s 47 children every day, almost one child every 30 minutes, and the numbers are going up, not down. Children are incarcerated because Attorney General Jeff Sessions ordered them taken away from their immigrant parents at the border, in what he calls a “zero tolerance” policy. Detention centers for children are packed, and the government is talking about setting up “tent cities” on military bases—where child protection laws requiring care by trained child welfare workers do not apply.
The “zero tolerance” policy applies to all border crossers, including those who wish to exercise their legally protected right to seek asylum. Under this policy, border patrol agents charge adults with a criminal misdemeanor for illegal entry. If migrants are traveling with children, border agents separate children and parents, and children are taken away and treated as “unaccompanied minors.”
More than 11,000 children are housed in more than 100 facilities in 17 states, far from their parents and often with no communication. Many are toddlers and very young children. The government acknowledges that more than 100 of those taken during the May 6-19 period were under four years old. Some parents have been deported without ever seeing their children again. One Honduran father killed himself in jail, in despair over separation from his three-year-old son.
In announcing the new policy, Jeff Sessions said, “if you are smuggling a child, then we will prosecute you and that child will be separated from you as a matter of law. If you don’t like it, then don’t smuggle children over our border.” The reality is that migrants are not “smuggling children,” they are trying to rescue them from inhospitable conditions in their countries of origin. They are trying to save their children’s lives.
Attorney General Sessions has implemented this new policy for the express purpose of deterring potential immigrants and asylum seekers. Separating children from their parents purposefully inflicts trauma on people who simply come to the United States to escape life-threatening conditions in their countries.
Americans, from Catholic bishops to the Southern Baptist Conference, from psychologists to Democrats and even some Republicans in Congress are rising up in protest against this inhumane betrayal of our strong history as an immigrant-welcoming nation. As John Keller told the Star Tribune, “Those seeking asylum are not breaking the law. They are following international standards that this country has agreed to. We need to dispel this doublespeak the administration is using. Under any normal administration, the U.S. would be condemning this practice, not initiating it.”
Please call your elected officials today and tell them that Trump’s “zero tolerance” policy at the border is unacceptable and that IT MUST END NOW.
“Hello, my name is _______ and I am one of your constituents. As a person of faith I am outraged. Please let President Trump know that the new zero tolerance policy at the border is cruel and inhumane. No child should have to be separated from their parent, particularly if they are trying to flee life-threatening conditions in their native country. This policy will inflict life-long trauma on parents and their children and it must end now. I believe families belong together. Please do everything you can to stop this barbaric policy.”
Remember - calling is the most effective method of reaching your elected officials. Thank you for speaking up!