Special Thanks to Alx Dark of Seattle Immigrant Rights Action Group for spearheading this effort.
Seattle Indivisible will join a statewide coalition for:
Five Days of Action for Children in the Immigration System
The Trump Administration has zealously altered the US immigration system in the last year and a half, seeking new ways to limit legal immigration, and new ways to punish unauthorized immigration. The Administration’s gratuitous cruelty towards immigrants harms many thousands of children every year.
Over five days, organizations across Washington state are going to force a sense of urgency on our members of Congress, and demand they prioritize work on these issues:
DHS has been toying with separating families detained at the border since the start of the Trump administration. To deter illegal entry and asylum seekers, DHS Secretary John Kelly announced a separation policy in March 2017, but backed off under intense criticism.
Nevertheless, the New York Times discovered that more than 700 children have been taken from adults claiming to be their parents since October 2017, including more than 100 children under the age of 4. In one prominent case, a 7-year-old Congolese girl was separated from her mother for over four months, despite the fact that her mother broke no laws when she presented herself to border agents in order to apply for asylum.
Attorney General Sessions recently announced a policy of charging every person apprehended crossing the border with a crime. This move would guarantee separation of families, by sending children to the Health and Human Services’ Office of Refugee Resettlement while their parents are held in detention centers to await trial.
Sen. Patty Murray: DC: (202) 224-2621; Seattle: (206) 553-5545
Sen. Maria Cantwell: DC: (202) 224-3441; Seattle: (206) 220-6400
Rep. Pramila Jayapal: DC: 202-225-3106; Seattle: 206-674-0040
Rep. Adam Smith: DC: (202) 225-8901; Renton: (425) 793-5180
DHS needs to stop terrorizing children to deter migrants and asylum seekers. It’s cruel, it’s immoral, and it’s unnecessary. It is a violation of U.S. law to separate children from their parents in order to deter illegal immigration.
ICE must not separate families who are apprehended entering the country, or who ask for asylum. Despite repeated assurances to the contrary, instances of asylum-seeking families being separated are common and well documented.
DHS should abandon their plan to charge all people apprehended at the border with a crime. They should keep families together in family detention centers, or release them on bond while they wait for a decision on their status.
“Trump administration to step up family separation at the border.” Ted Hesson, Politico, May 7, 2018.
“Hundreds of Immigrant Children Have Been Taken From Parents at U.S. Border.” Caitlin Dickerson. New York Times. April 20, 2018.
“Top Homeland Security officials urge criminal prosecution of parents crossing border with children.” Maria Sacchetti, Washington Post, April 26, 2018.
“Watchdog to investigate DHS family separations in immigration custody.” Tal Kopan. CNN Politics, April 16, 2018.
“ACLU sues over separation of mother, 7-year-old daughter seeking asylum.” Nomaan Merchant, Associated Press. Chicago Tribune, February 26, 2018.