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Ahead of Father’s Day, Sen. Menendez, Rep. Pallone, Rep. Gutiérrez, Immigrant Families, and Faith Leaders Urge Trump and Sec. Kelly to Stop Destroying Families

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A video of today’s event is available here

Today, Senator Menendez (D-NJ) and Representatives Pallone (D-NJ) and Gutiérrez (D-IL) joined families from New Jersey and Maryland as well as faith and immigration leaders to remind President Trump and Department of Homeland Security Secretary John Kelly of the real life impacts of their immigration policies and to support the fathers and families in deportation proceedings.

A parent’s deportation leaves families without emotional and financial support and has devastating consequences for children’s development. With increased deportations under President Trump of long-settled immigrants, more children are facing the prospect of losing one or more parents to this administration’s indiscriminate national deportation policy. For more information, please see the #DontDeportMyDad factsheet, available here. A video recording of today’s event is available here.

Senator Bob Menendez (D-NJ), said:

President Trump’s anti-immigrant Executive Orders have been callously enforced by Secretary Kelly, tearing apart families and leaving a single parent to struggle to be the sole foundation for the child moving forward.  Let me be clear: If no one is prioritized, everyone is a target. And clearly, not even ‘good hombres’ are safe from policies that don’t prioritize violent criminals and narco-traffickers over decent and respectable fathers and grandfathers. At some point, this Administration will have to acknowledge separating families will not bring more security to our country, but will rather destroy the fabric of what makes us great in the first place.

Representative Frank Pallone (D-NJ), said:

I want to thank Joel for showing tremendous strength and courage in sharing his father’s story. It is morally reprehensible to separate Arino and so many others from their families. Those who have sought asylum from religious persecution have now fallen victim to the Trump administration’s appalling refugee and immigration policy. I have been inspired by the groundswell of support for Arino and we will continue to fight until our country has a just and humane immigration policy.

Representative Luis V. Gutiérrez (D-IL), said:

Deporting a father of four U.S. citizen children, who has a work permit and has compiled everything the Department of Homeland Security has required for years, is anti-family and self-defeating for the United States. He and his family should be allowed to continue to thrive. They are assets to our country.

Pastor Seth Kaper-Dale, Pastor, Reformed Church of Highland Park, said:

After September 11th, Indonesian Christians on overstayed tourists visas self-reported, so America would know they were here for refuge. The cost of honesty has been family-breaking deportations and fear. Since Trump became President, we’ve seen the beginning of racial and ethnic cleansing. Four Indonesians, including fathers, have been deported so far, leaving U.S. citizen children parentless. Dozens of others are now at risk.

Joel Massie, 13-year old son of Arino Massie of New Jersey, who was recently deported, said, “I am feeling sad and stressed. I’m sad my dad can’t live the dream of America he had when he first arrived here. I’m sad he can’t live with his family by his side.”

Zeke Cohen, Baltimore City councilman representing Jesus Peraza, said:

Over the past few months, our community has come under assault. First we lost a barber, then a small business owner, and finally a father. Jesus Peraza was handcuffed and detained after dropping off his nine-year-old child at school. What these men have in common is that they have no criminal record. They are not gang members or drug dealers. They did not hurt anyone. Their only perceived sin is their status. The ICE raids have devastated families and eviscerated the thin trust between our immigrant communities and law enforcement. This administration’s reckless policies have spread fear and eroded trust. This country belongs to all of us. We rise and we fall together. Justice has no boundaries or borders.