Commerce | U.S.- Mexico Foundation | Voto Latino
Washington, D.C.– Yesterday, President Trump signed an Executive Order calling for the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) to maintain family unity for undocumented families crossing the U.S. border. In reality, the order allows DHS to continue separating families under the vague auspices of appropriateness and “available resources.” Furthermore, the order allows DHS to detain undocumented families during the pendency of any criminal entry or immigration proceedings. The order also directs the Attorney General to attempt to modify the Settlement Agreement in Flores v. Sessions, which limits DHS’ detention of children to 20 days. NHLA, in the strongest terms possible, rejects the Administration’s purposeful misrepresentation of the law to the American public, its continued policy to incarcerate children and their parents, and the furtherance of its agenda of nativist and anti-Latino hate.
“Trump’s concession does not address the appropriately urgent concerns of the caring American public,” said Thomas A. Saenz, NHLA Chair and MALDEF President and General Counsel. “The executive order simply trades one atrocity for another, envisioning the mass and long-term detention of families, including minor children, in abominable conditions behind bars and fences; this no more reflects our national values than forcibly separating mothers and fathers from their children.”
“Let’s recognize what happened. First, President Trump admitted he was lying and his administration was misleading the American people when he blamed anybody but himself for this cruel and barbaric policy. This executive order is proof that traumatizing children by taking them away from their parents is his policy and that despite a lot of nonsense claiming otherwise, he is able to end it. Second, it was the overwhelming outrage and immense pressure from the Latino, immigrant rights, civil rights, and human rights communities, and of people of good conscience in this country who were sickened by this violation of our common American values, that forced the president’s hand. We need to keep this outrage and pressure going. Despite being rebuked by nearly everyone, the president issued an executive order that is nearly all misdirection. We cannot allow the barbaric and un-American treatment of those seeking refuge from violence and persecution to continue by other means such as indefinite detention of families and storing these families in military installations. We could fight back, but we need to keep fighting until we get a real, fair, and humane immigration solution.” said Janet Murguía, President and CEO, UnidosUS (formerly National Council of La Raza).
“This is an outrageous and deeply craven attempt by the President to appease Americans angry at his family separation policies while duplicitously expanding the criminalization of immigrants. We demand an immediate reunification of immigrant families and an end to the criminal prosecutions of immigrants,” said José Calderón, President of the Hispanic Federation.
“This executive order at its core is still only window dressing. It will not meaningfully address the underlying humanitarian crisis that is occurring along the U.S. border each and every day as a result of the ‘zero tolerance’ immigration enforcement policy that remains in place. The fact that ripping families apart was the policy of the United States for even one minute, hour or day is simply unconscionable. As a nation, we simply cannot claim to stay true to our values and ideals while we continue to imprison migrant children and adults in jail-like facilities resembling cages that strip them of their basic dignity and human decency,” said Arturo Vargas, Co-Chair of NHLA’s Census Working Group and Executive Director of the National Association of Latino Elected and Appointed Officials (NALEO) Educational Fund.
“The past six weeks represent a shameful period in our nation’s history, but these events are unfortunately far from incongruous with our track record of failed policies. The past decades have been characterized by a systematic campaign to dehumanize immigrants, misguided U.S. migration policies, and failed foreign policy toward Central American nations. These complex issues deserve thoughtful, systemic fixes, not punitive measures that criminalize and traumatize the victims of our policy failures. We need a system that recognizes the positive economic, cultural, and civic contributions of immigrants; that guarantees asylum seekers their right to due process; and that reflects the United States’ responsibility in welcoming and resettling refugees,” said Oscar Chacon, Executive Director, Alianza Americas.
“This family separation tragedy is not new for our communities. However, the administration’s Zero Tolerance policy is unprecedented and has turned this tragedy into a humanitarian crisis. This executive order does nothing to fix that, rather it doubles down on Zero Tolerance and indefinitely detains families together. Considering that detention centers are plagued with pervasive levels of sexual violence, human and civil rights abuses, and dangerously subpar access to critical medical care, no federal funding should be going towards family prisons. Instead, the administration should be releasing individuals and families to community-based alternatives to detention. Immigrants and our families belong in our communities, not in cages. NLIRH calls for the abolishment of ICE to ensure that no person or family endures the toll of family detention and separation ever again,” said Jessica González-Rojas, Executive Director of the National Latina Institute for Reproductive Health (NLIRH), Vice Chair of NHLA and co-chair of the Latina Task Force and the Health Committee.
“Over 2,300 Latino children are being held hostage and in immigrant prisons away from their parents under a callous and evil attempt by Attorney General Sessions and President Trump to vilify immigrants who flee violence in Central America. Yesterday’s Executive Order does nothing to solve that problem, nothing to reunite the children, and nothing to stop the criminalization of their parents. Mandating that those same families can stay together in prison under ‘indefinite detention,’ is not a solution. The fact that the Executive Order specifically requests indefinite detention shows just how lost this administration is as it relates to the trauma that immigrant families face. Release the 2,300 kids, Mr. President. Release them now!” said Juan Cartagena, President and General Counsel at LatinoJustice PRLDEF.
“In addition to not fully ending family separation, this Executive Order offers no plan for release of the thousands of children still in custody, permits indefinite detention of immigrant families, and knowingly runs afoul of the Flores Settlement Agreement. We will not allow these continued and illogical attacks on the Latino community to become the ‘new normal’. This Administration’s insistence on using the cruelest immigration enforcement tactics imaginable (targeting churches, schools, hospitals and courts for immigration raids, Zero Tolerance prosecutions, family separation, child detainment, etc.); Congress’ failure to pass legislation to protect over one million DREAMers and TPSers against deportation and failure to codify appropriate funding to ensure legal representation of unaccompanied minors asylum seekers; and both the Administration’s and Congress’ unfathomable lack of concern or assistance offered to the people of Puerto Rico, do not reflect of our American Values and will no longer be tolerated. Basta!” said Erica V. Mason, National President, Hispanic National Bar Association.
“As Americans, we are better than these xenophobic policies. Make no mistake, the reversal of policy by the Administration does not change the fact that pain and suffering is being inflicted on the 2,300 children and families living in cages. Our work is far from done, we are mobilizing more than ever to show that this is a country built by and for immigrants,” stated Ana Marie Argilagos, President of Hispanics in Philanthropy.
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ABOUT THE NATIONAL HISPANIC LEADERSHIP AGENDA:
The National Hispanic Leadership Agenda is composed of 45 of the leading national and regional Latino civil rights and public policy organizations and other elected officials, and prominent Latinos Americans. NHLA coalition members represent the diversity of the Latino community – Mexican Americans, Puerto Ricans, Cubans, and other Latino Americans. NHLA’s mission calls for unity among Latinos around the country to provide the Latino community with greater visibility and a clearer, stronger influence in our country’s affairs. NHLA brings together Latino leaders to establish policy priorities that address, and raise public awareness of, the major issues affecting the Latino community and the nation as a whole. For more information, please visit: www.nationalhispanicleadership.org.
NHLA MEMBER ORGANIZATIONS:
Alianza Americas | American G.I. Forum | ASPIRA Association | Avance Inc. | Casa de Esperanza: National Latin@ Network | Congressional Hispanic Caucus Institute | Farmworker Justice | GreenLatinos | Hispanic Association of Colleges & Universities | Hispanic Federation |Hispanics in Philanthropy | Hispanic National Bar Association | Inter-University Program for Latino Research | Labor Council for Latin American Advancement | LatinoJustice PRLDEF | League of United Latin American Citizens | MANA, A National Latina Organization | Mexican American Legal Defense and Educational Fund | Mi Familia Vota | National Association of Latino Arts and Cultures | National Association of Hispanic Federal Executives | National Association of Hispanic Publications | National Day Laborer Organizing Network | NALEO Educational Fund | National Association of Latino Independent Producers | National Conference of Puerto Rican Women, Inc. | National Hispanic Caucus of State Legislators | National Hispanic Council on Aging | National Hispanic Environmental Council | National Hispanic Foundation for the Arts | National Hispanic Media Coalition | National Hispanic Medical Association | National Institute for Latino Policy | National Latina/o Psychological Association | National Latina Institute for Reproductive Health | Presente.org | SER Jobs for Progress National | Southwest Voter Registration Education Project | UnidosUS | United States Hispanic Chamber of Commerce | United States Hispanic Leadership Institute | United States-Mexico Chamber of