***Today’s Action guest-written by Alx Dark***
In the latter half of 2017, immigration and refugee service agencies have seen a sharp increase of cases where immigration agents have separated children from their parents when they apprehended families crossing into the United States illegally.
In March of this year, DHS Secretary John Kelly announced a policy to separate families in this manner to deter illegal immigration, but he backed off from the policy after receiving enormous criticism for the proposal. Nevertheless, not only are advocacy groups seeing this tactic being used, but newspaper reports suggest that current DHS Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen is close to approving this as an official deterrence policy (as of December 21st).
It's unthinkably cruel towards children to separate them from their parents like this, with no information offered either to children or their parents about where the other is or when/how they might be reunited. It also disrupts both the legal right to seek asylum, and the process through which families should be able to seek asylum with the United States.
Under prior policy, families were kept together while awaiting a decision on whether or not they would be deported; they were either held in special family detention centers, or released with a court date. This practice should continue and children should be kept with their parents under normal circumstances (except for extreme circumstances, like child abuse).
ACTION 1: Ask your reps to inquire into the DHS’ practices
Call our members of Congress and tell them DHS should not separate families apprehended at the border, excepting extreme circumstances like concern for the safety of the child:
Sen. Patty Murray 202-224-2621
Sen. Maria Cantwell 202-224-3441
Rep. Pramila Jayapal 202-224-3106
“Hi, my name is [Name] and I’m a constituent in [your zip code]. I’m calling because I do not support the practice of the Department of Homeland Security of taking children away from their parents at the border. This policy is an inhumane violation of human rights, especially for people fleeing violence and hardship. I encourage by representative to inquire into DHS' practices and take appropriate legislative steps to halt this practice. [If the issue has directly impacted you or those you know, now would be a good time to share a little bit about that.] Thank you for your hard work!”
ACTION 2: Email DHS
Email DHS and tell them you oppose this practice using your own words or using a variation of the script above.
Cameron Quinn, Officer for Civil Rights and Civil Liberties <firstname.lastname@example.org>
John V. Kelly, Office of Inspector General <email@example.com>
GOOD NEWS: Commission for "Voter Fraud" dissolved
Yesterday, the White House announced that the Presidential Advisory Commission on Election Integrity would be dissolved, citing the refusal of many states to cooperate as an insurmountable obstacle. Further proof that resistance makes a difference: http://talkingpointsmemo.com/edblog/president-dissolves-election-integrity-commission
DON'T FORGET: Volunteer to Register Voters
We are partnering with Seattle Womxn Marching Forward to launch the kickoff to a major voter registration drive on Jan 21st, the anniversary of their march last year.
Use the link below to volunteer to register people to vote: https://docs.google.com/forms/d/e/1FAIpQLScdpc3m8goqEXcki4B5KDx9KSrsYBPLcCuRznuQ33iZljXzeA/viewform