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Following Latest Report on Family Separations at the Border, Experts and Advocates Discussed the Broader Implications

 

A recording of today’s call is available here

The latest report on the border shows more inhumane actions taken by Customs and Border Protection (CBP), with CBP intentionally separating families “as a way to deter migrants from coming here.” On a press call, experts and advocates discussed the effects these types of actions have on migrant families, the legal issues around reunification, and what this means going forward. A recording of today’s call is available here.

Katharina Obser, Senior Policy Advisor of Women’s Refugee Commission (WRC), said: “DHS’s ongoing practice of separating families continues to be, first and foremost, a brazen and cruel attempt at deterrence. Family separation not only harms children and traumatizes parents, but it can have devastating consequences for a family seeking asylum or legal relief. Parents seeking protection for their family should never have to fear that the price for lawfully seeking asylum is to be torn apart from their child. The administration must immediately end this unnecessary and un-American practice.”

Jennifer Podkul, Esq., Director of Policy of Kids in Need of Defense (KIND), said:

“Separating families, including very young children from their mothers, is incredibly damaging to these children and completely abhorrent to the values we hold as a nation. Imposing suffering on children and breaking up families to deter immigration is as ineffective as it is cruel.”

Lee Gelernt, Deputy Director of the ACLU’s Immigrants’ Rights Project, said:

“The ACLU filed a national class-action lawsuit to reunite the hundreds of families who have been separated, and to stop this horrid practice from continuing. It is unconscionable that little kids are being torn away from their parents this way.”

Donna Norton, Executive Vice President of MomsRising, said:

“For the moms of America, the New York Times report was a shocking, deeply disturbing wake-up call about how our federal government is treating people who come here seeking refuge, asylum and a decent life. This action can only be described as heartless – and un-American. It flouts both United States and international law. It violates basic human rights, traumatizing children and their parents. And it undermines our values as a country. 70,000 MomsRising members have signed petitions in support of immigrants and in 22 states, our members have hand-delivered those petitions to members of Congress. Just yesterday, we sent a letter to Secretary Nielsen and members of Congress urging them to oppose the cruel practice of separating children from their parents at the border. Asylum-seekers deserve compassion, dignity and respect. The heartless treatment of refugee mothers and children must end.”

Alan Shapiro, MD, FAAP, member of American Academy of Pediatrics Immigrant Health Special Interest Group, said:

“Children do not immigrate, they flee. Parents will continue to flee violence to protect their children and themselves. It is reprehensible to punish them for that basic human impulse and even more so to use children as leverage, as the government is doing with its current policy of deterring immigration by forcibly separating children from their parents.”