UPDATE 8/1: The Administration failed to meet a court-ordered July 26 deadline to reunite the children it wrongfully separated from their parents. The government reunited about 1,500 children it deemed “eligible” for reunification and whose parents it could find. Hundreds of children remain separated from their parents for a variety of reasons, including about 463 parents being already deported without their children.
UPDATE 6/20: The new “zero tolerance” executive order has only made our petition more urgent. It does not fix the crisis at the border and does not guarantee that families will not be separated. There is no plan to reunite thousands of children, some as young as three months old, who have already been separated from their parents. And it would allow for the indefinite detention of immigrant children. The solution to family separation is not indefinite family detention. Children do not belong in jail.
In May, Attorney General Jeff Sessions announced that the Departments of Justice and Homeland Security would partner on an expanded “zero tolerance” policy for migrant families seeking to cross the U.S. border. Sessions vowed to prosecute anyone detained at the border, rendering children unaccompanied minors. The policy resulted in about 2,500 children being forcibly separated from their parents and held in cages within massive warehouses. Hundreds of children remain separated from their parents and reports of abuse and inhumane conditions they are suffering while in detention continue to come to light. Families are still suffering in “detention centers,” and the policy has sent a flood of deportation cases into federal courts. This cruel, draconian policy insults our legacy as a nation of immigrants, punishes parents seeking safety for their children, and recalls some of the worst human rights violations in our nation’s — and the world’s — history. Instead of learning the lessons of the past, our leaders are intentionally and regrettably repeating its cruelest moments. We are calling on Attorney General Sessions and Secretary Nielsen to reunite families and immediately end this mean-spirited, un-American policy.
We, the undersigned, call on Attorney General Sessions and Secretary Nielsen to recognize that their Zero Tolerance policy, criminalizing children and their families seeking asylum has resulted in catastrophic human rights violations. We urge AG Sessions and Secretary Nielsen to fix the mess their policy created by reuniting the families torn apart, and and stop this inhumane policy immediately.