Tuesday, June 12, 2018

Open Letter to Senators Murkowski and Sullivan on ICE Family Separations

Dear Senators Murkowski and Sullivan,

You have been shamefully silent on Attorney General Jeff Sessions’ policy (i.e., not a law) of allowing Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) to forcibly separate children from their parents at the country’s southern border, with no explanation or assurance of reunification, and your constituents want to know why.

You are both parents yourselves, so surely you understand the fear and heartbreak that immigrants to our country—many of whom are legally seeking asylum from unspeakable conditions at home—are facing. Attorney General Sessions' current policy is more reminiscent of Nazi Germany's Gestapo than it is Ellis Island and the Statue of Liberty that have made America a beacon of hope to asylum seekers, immigrants, and refugees for decades.

We want to know if, or why, you are apparently okay with what’s happening here, and with being complicit in your party’s human rights abuses of children.

We want to know if or why you are okay with a policy that the American Academy of Pediatrics called “appalling” in its “sweeping cruelty” and warns can “cause irreparable harm, disrupting a child’s brain architecture and affecting his or her short and long-term health.”

We want to know if or why you are okay with children crying themselves to sleep because they don’t know where their parents are.

We want to know if or why you are okay with a father committing suicide in ICE detention after his three year-old child was taken from him, in hysterics.

We want to know if or why you are okay with ICE agents lying to parents, saying their children are being taken for questioning or baths, until it dawns on them that their children are not coming back, and they have no idea how or when they will be reunited.

We want to know if or why you are okay with ICE forcibly separating children from parents, even though the parents are LEGALLY presenting themselves for asylum at U.S. ports of entry.

We want to know if or why you are okay with children being warehoused in unsanitary and dangerous conditions where they are subjected to verbal, physical, and sexual abuse at the hands of ICE agents, and later “lost” to human traffickers. 


In America.

We want to know if or why you're okay with President Trump erecting "tent cities" (i.e. concentration camps) to house unaccompanied children?

Again, in America.

We want to know if or why you're okay with this policy, even though it's more expensive than keeping families together, considering that you're "fiscal conservatives?"

We want to know if or why you are okay with a “zero-tolerance” prosecution policy—NOT A LAW—that weaponizes children in an immigration war begun long ago, but waged with a new and breathtaking heartlessness by President Trump and Attorney General Sessions, and built on fear, bigotry, misinformation, and white supremacy.


We want to know how you can live with yourselves knowing these things are happening on your watch, by your party. In America. Is this America in 2018, or 1933 Berlin? Your constituents and basic principles of human rights demand that you answer these questions and that you answer them now.



John Moore/Getty Images

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