Dear President Trump, U.S. Attorney General Sessions, and D.H.S. Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen,
In April of this year, U.S. Attorney General Sessions announced a new policy for asylum-seeking parents that intentionally separates them from their children at the U.S. border. Within two weeks of this policy going into effect, more than 650 children were intentionally separated from parents at the border. Punishing asylum seekers by separating families is inhumane and beyond belief, yet it's the story of too many mothers and children who seek asylum on our shores. Separating families causes unnecessary trauma to children and families, overburdens our current government systems, and causes immigrant children and families to live in fear.
In addition to being cruel, separating families is also expensive. Continuing the Trump administration’s practice of intentionally separating children from their families at the border would cost taxpayers an estimated $327 million annually.
The poem inscribed at the base of the Statue of Liberty boldly declares:
“Give me your tired, your poor,
Your huddled masses yearning to breathe free.”
This spirit of welcome of immigrants is our nation’s strength. We believe that families and communities should stick together, that we should look out for each other, and that hard work should be rewarded. Separating mothers from their children does not represent the values we teach our children — or what we aspire to be as a nation.
We call on the administration to protect basic human rights of women and children who deserve to be treated with compassion, dignity and respect by ending these harmful practices that hurt our families, communities, economy and country.