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“Attorney General Sessions and DHS Secretary Nielsen should be ashamed of themselves”

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Frank Sharry reacts to new family separation policy

Yesterday Attorney General Jeff Sessions and DHS Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen announced a “zero tolerance” border policy that will result in adults being separated from their children and prosecuted criminally. This is a radical expansion of a strategy that this administration has been testing, and denying. Now, they are going all in and going public. As Attorney General Sessions said yesterday in San Diego, “If you cross this border unlawfully, then we will prosecute you. It’s that simple…. If you are smuggling a child, then we will prosecute you and that child will be separated from you as required by law. If you don’t like that, then don’t smuggle children over our border.”

The following is a reaction from Frank Sharry, Executive Director of America’s Voice Education Fund:

From the first day of his campaign, Donald Trump has vilified and dehumanized immigrants and refugees seeking safety and a better life as criminals that threaten our nation. From the first weekend of his presidency, Donald Trump and his administration have sought to keep out and kick out immigrants and refugees in a way that tramples our best traditions and highest values.

Now, Donald Trump and his administration have reached a new low. As of today, it is the official policy of the United States to separate mothers and fathers from their minor children, including infants and toddlers, so the federal government can prosecute parents for seeking safety and freedom for themselves and their kids.

To America’s mothers and fathers, we ask you: Would you do whatever it takes to keep your children safe? Would you subject your kids to violence or escape to find refuge? Are you a criminal if you try to do so? Are you a smuggler if you take your kids out of harm’s way? Do you think it is just to take toddlers from the arms of their parents so the government can prosecute you for trying to do what any of us would do – all to send a hardcore deterrence message to others?

The U.S. government, in our name and with our tax dollars, is criminalizing parents for seeking safety for their families. We used to be a global leader in protecting refugees. We used to call ourselves a land of opportunity for those seeking a better life. We used to work towards laws that align with justice. Not now. Not with this President. Not with this administration.

Attorney General Sessions and DHS Secretary Nielsen should be ashamed of themselves. They will go down in history as authors of one of the cruelest, most sadistic and most un-American policies of our generation. It is up to people of conscience to say clearly, firmly and patriotically: this is not who we are; this cannot be done in our name; this must stop.