At Senate Hearing, Kids, Parents, and Faith Leaders Walk Out in Protest of Trump Administration’s Failure to Reunite Families
Families and Women Call on Congress to Hold Accountable ICE and CBP for Reports of Abuse and Lagging Efforts to Reunite Families
As the Senate Judiciary Committee held an oversight hearing on the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) efforts to reunite families, children, parents, and faith leaders walked out in protest, calling on Congress to hold accountable the Immigration Customs and Enforcement (ICE) and Customs and Border Patrol (CBP) agencies for their immoral practices and failure to reunify families.
711 children in custody have not been reunited with their parents. Buzzfeed found that child detainees are currently suffering from grave physical and mental abuse.
Children have been hit and kicked, fed raw meat, and taunted by guards who pretend to find their parents. Today’s demonstration echoes the concerns enumerated in a recent letter “Family Separations: A Word to the Church, which garnered over 2,000 signatories, sent to the Christian Church.
(See images and video of demonstration and walk-out here.)
Reverend Sharon Stanley-Rea, Director of Disciples Refugee and Immigration Ministries: “Faith leaders are here today to express: we have no tolerance for zero tolerance. Zero tolerance practices rip families apart, and they do not correspond with our scriptures. We remember that Jesus himself said ‘do not hinder the children, let them come to me.’ Jesus understood the importance of protecting children. God created us in families and blessed Abraham’s family to last throughout the generations. So, we cannot, in this moment and as a nation, allow our country to go in this direction against our scriptures.”
Heidi Altman, Director of Policy for National Immigrant Justice Center: “We are here today on behalf of the hundreds of children – including NIJC clients – who remain alone in custody, scared and waiting to be reunited with their mothers and fathers. Members of Congress must demand that ALL families be reunited and must resist the administration’s ongoing interference with parental rights without due process protections. Administration officials have engaged in systemic rights abuses and accountability is long overdue.”
Tyler Moran, Managing Director of the Immigration Hub: “It’s unconscionable that Republican members of Congress are contemplating giving more funding to DHS, as Secretary Nielsen continues to tell parents they are ‘ineligible’ to be reunited with their children. Over 700 children are still without a parent. Even when the government is bringing families back together, it is coercing them to sign their own deportation orders instead of allowing them to pursue their asylum claims. No parent is ‘ineligible’ and no parent can be deleted.”
Participating organizations included America’s Voice, Asian Americans Advancing Justice (AAJC), Calvary Episcopal Church, the Center for Community Change (CCC), the Coalition on Human Needs, Disciples Refugee and Immigration Ministries, the Fair Immigration Reform Movement (FIRM), the Immigration Hub, the Latin American Working Group (LAWG), the Maryknoll Office for Global Concerns, the National Association of Social Workers (NASW), the National Organization for Women (NOW), the National Immigrant Justice Center (NIJC), Unidos US, Voto Latino, and the Women’s Refugee Commission.