This week, Reps. Darren Soto (D-FL) and Jan Schakowsky (D-IL) and a broad spectrum of civil rights leaders including Rev. Al Sharpton of the National Action Network, Jonathan Greenblatt of the Anti-Defamation League, Marc H. Morial of the National Urban League, and Deririck Johnson, president of the NAACP have called on President Donald Trump and Attorney General Jeff Sessions to immediately halt practice of separating children and their parents at the U.S. border. On Wednesday, President Trump signed an executive order to end the policy.
From October 2017 to May 2018, more than 2,700 children have reportedly been separated from their parents. The rate of those separations have risen alarmingly—in the past six weeks alone, a reported 2,000 children have been taken from their parents and placed in shelter facilities that are already nearing capacity. The Trump Administration to date does not have a formal process to reunite families, leaving the very real possibility that children spend extended periods of time away from their families and in a temporary shelter facility, causing harm and trauma to children, teenagers and their parents..
“The gathering of major civil rights leaders is to underscore our outrage at the abhorrible, immoral the administrative directive to separate children from their parents,” Sharpton said. “This must be resisted at all levels. If Congress does not act today, we will begin as early as [today] waves of visits to the border in efforts to have clergy and humanitarian visits to these children and to show the world that America has not lost its conscious or soul. The mutual aspect of this is that we more than are convinced that President Trump would not do this at the Canadian border to White children. This is selective administrative insensitivity.”
“The separation of children from their parents at the border is not only cruel and inhumane but is evidence of a morally bankrupt administration,” said Morial. “America’s promise to those who greet its borders and shores is one of opportunity and access to a better life. Instead, our government has met these families with traumatizing forced separation. Our history books will reflect on these abhorrent separations as some of the darkest times in this country’s history. The National Urban League will continue to stand steadfastly with our partners in civil and human rights to urge the Trump administration to end no tolerance family separation immediately and we call on Congress to stop using children as pawns in a political game and pass comprehensive immigration reform.”
Melanie Campbell, president of the National Coalition on Black Civic Progress, said: “The unjust White House policy to separate 2,000 children from their parents at the Mexican border, who are fleeing for their lives seeking asylum from violence and persecution in their home countries, is tantamount to ‘government sanctioned child abuse.’ This administration is using babies as pawns to build a wall on the border and using “rule of law” as their excuse to commit these inhumane atrocities. Shame on President Trump and GOP congressional leadership for choosing partisan gain over human rights and compassion for ‘the least of these God’s children’ that are being traumatized and ripped apart from their mothers and fathers. What kind of nation are we becoming, if we continue to allow babies, little girls and boys, to be put in cages and left alone, un-nurtured, wailing and crying themselves to sleep at night? We must all speak up and challenge these immoral acts by our government. God is not pleased, and voters of good conscience will remember this in November.”
“Ripping children from their parents is an immoral and horrific human rights violation,” Johnson stated. “There is simply no law requiring the separation of families and the detention of young children. Reviving an old ploy, Bible verses are once again being incorrectly used to defend government oppression as was done to justify the atrocities of slavery. Have we not learned anything from history? This must end now.”