MIRA joins Sen. Markey’s call for ban on family separations

BOSTON, June 15, 2018 – Today, we joined U.S. Senator Edward J. Markey, with several advocates, to condemn family separations and speak out in support of a Senate bill co-sponsored by him to end family separations not as part of a massive immigration “reform” bill, but by simply forbidding the practice.

The Keep Families Together Act was developed in consultation with child welfare experts and is supported by the American Academy of Pediatrics, Kids In Need of Defense (KIND), Coalition for Humane Immigrant Rights of Los Angeles (CHIRLA), Children’s Law Center and the Young Center for Immigrant Rights. It has overwhelming support from Senate Democrats, but no GOP support so far.

You can watch our joint press conference here, or watch an excerpt of Senator Markey’s remarks. What follows are MIRA Executive Director Eva A. Millona’s remarks at the event.

“As a mother, I am heartbroken by what is being done at the border. Since October, more than 1,300 children have been separated from their parents, and we have every reason to believe this crisis will escalate.

The stories from the border are shocking. Toddlers torn away from their mothers. Parents told they’ll never see their children again. Courtrooms full of women  who are pushed to plead guilty and give up their chance at asylum just so they can have their babies back.

This is institutionalized cruelty,  But as we saw at marches all across the country, Americans will not stand for this. Even the deeply conservative Southern Baptist convention condemned this practice.

In fact, no one with a conscience could tolerate this. As Cardinal O’Malley put it, what our government is doing is “severing the most sacred human bond of parent and child.” This policy “destroys families, traumatizes parents, and terrorizes children.” Quite simply, it’s immoral.

We’ve also drawn international condemnation. The UN High Commissioner for Human Rights has said what’s happening is “a serious violation of the rights of the child,” and called for an immediate stop. The United States, a beacon of hope for the world, is violating the rights of desperate, vulnerable families.

Families are the core of our society and they must stay together. While protecting the borders is important, we can and must do better as a society to achieve that. Separating babies from their mothers is not the answer. This is not who we are as a country.

So we have to fight back. That is why we’re so grateful that Senator Markey, Senator Feinstein and 40 of their colleagues have introduced this bill. No matter what the president says, the law doesn’t require families to be separated. But as long as the law permits it, this administration will do it. So let’s change the law.

I urge our entire Congressional delegation to get behind this bill, reach out to their republican colleague , and I urge you all to speak out. Families belong together. We will not stop fighting until this ends.”