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Wednesday, June 20, 2018

An Open Letter to President Trump re: Tearing Families Apart at the Border

An Open Letter to President Trump re: Tearing Families Apart at the Border  |  6/20/2018

We write this letter full of the images and sounds of young children sobbing, thrown into cages, torn from their parents’ arms, some never to be reunited with their families, many robbed of their innocence and their potential as human beings. We write in recognition of the fact that there is a legitimate debate to be had about immigration reform, but clear in the conviction that the policy of separating children is an abomination and an affront to human rights and American values. No moral or legal argument could justify your actions, and when you say that you are merely enforcing the law, you are lying: you created this policy, and you have the power to immediately cease the separation of children from their parents. Nor is a change of policy sufficient, for you must also ensure that every single family is reunited.

To use traumatized children as a bargaining chip for other policy goals, which appears to be your aim, is unspeakably cruel. We are profoundly concerned, not only with your current actions, but also with your rhetoric. Over the past few months and years you have referred to immigrants as “animals” and “invaders,” spoken about a supposed “infestation” of our country, and made numerous other dehumanizing remarks. Using history as our guide, we know that dehumanizing rhetoric leads to dehumanizing policy, and from there the possibility of greater horrors is enough to shock the conscience. The United States of America cannot and will not go down that road.

We must recognize that no human being is illegal. No human being is an animal. The majority of people traveling vast distances to come to this country are fleeing poverty, violence, and repression; they seek asylum and a better life for themselves and their family. Your rhetoric would lead one to believe that the majority of these immigrants are violent criminals, but according to Customs and Border Protection statistics, in fiscal year 2018 just 275 of 256,857 apprehended at the border were linked to the gang MS-13 (CBS). But of course we do not need statistics to know that the vilification of an entire group of vulnerable people—be they immigrants, Muslims, the poor, or people of color—is reprehensible, and the past two centuries are rife with examples of the ugly consequences of doing so.

We therefore exhort you to: first, stop tearing innocent children from the arms of their parents; second, to end the dangerous rhetoric; and third, to reunite the families. We of course need to protect our borders and enforce our laws, but doing so is not incompatible with protecting the dignity of all. This is not a question of law or public welfare, but rather one of morality and human rights—full stop. We are the wealthiest nation on the planet; we have the resources to humanely and equitably process and evaluate asylum claims. And even if we weren’t so wealthy and powerful, it would still be utterly inexcusable to put children and infants in makeshift detention centers: forbidden to speak to their parents, forbidden from embracing one another, alone, terrified—victims of your beliefs, your rhetoric, and your policies.

In solidarity with the most vulnerable among us,

Andrew Posner, Founder & CEO
Annie Dickson, COO
Dr. Ana Silva, Secretary of the Board
Hillary Feeney, Director of Coaching
Charles Frumerie, Director of Communications
Laura Rijo, Director of Loan Servicing
Angela Tosca, Director of Systems
Jennifer Ventriglia, Finance Specialist
Kyle Flavin, Credit Officer
Roxana Mercado, Loan Officer
Isabel Rodriguez, Financial Coaching Officer
Monica Rodriguez Lucas, Client Services Officer

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