Last night, Albertina Contreras Teletor and Yakelin Garcia Contreras, a mother and daughter who were separated at the southern border due to the administration’s family separation policy, sat in the House gallery as guests of Senator Jeff Merkley for the State of the Union address.
Albertina and Yakelin listened as Trump described the beauty of the image of a mother holding her infant child, claiming that “all children — born and unborn — are made in the holy image of God,” and proposing to Congress that we should “work together to build a culture that cherishes innocent life.” But his words are in stark contrast to the policies that ripped apart thousands of families like Yakelin and Albertina’s as they sought refuge in the U.S.
Trump’s remarks come just days before the House Committee on Energy and Commerce prepares for a hearing Thursday entitled “Examining the Failures of the Trump Administration’s Inhumane Family Separation Policy” and a House Judiciary Committee hearing next Tuesday on family separation that will include witnesses from the Department of Justice, Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE), and Health and Human Services (HHS).
According to Pili Tobar, Deputy Director of America’s Voice:
Last night Trump’s hypocrisy was on full display as he used his State of the Union speech to call for the protection of children, while ignoring the irreparable damage his administration is causing to thousands of immigrant children and families through his family separation and immigration and asylum policies.
If Trump actually believed that all children are made in the image of God, this administration would not have intentionally inflicted fear and long lasting trauma on children by enacting some of most cruel policies towards immigrant kids in the history of our country. Trump and his administration continue to lower the standards for the protection of children coming across our border, and they still haven’t answered for the hospitalization and even death of children in their custody.
As the House Committee on Energy and Commerce and the House Judiciary Committee prepare for oversight hearings on family separation, the President’s speech is a reminder of the inhumane policies of this administration, the fact that kids are still separated from their parents, that conditions at detention centers continue to be barbaric, and that this administration never stopped separating families. We demand answers from the administration and we must hold them accountable for the lasting and ongoing trauma inflicted on immigrant families.