We deplore the Trump administration’s perverse commitment to punishing migrant children too small to commit any crime,
as well as their asylum-seeking families
(June 21, 2018, Los Angeles) – Clergy of many faiths are coming together today in front of ICE Los Angeles headquarters to pray, sing, and condemn the President’s disdain for immigrant families and children, expressed in a capricious policy to rip children from immigrant asylum-seeking families, and now in deciding to instead pen those families in isolated facilities in the desert.
Jewish, Christian and Muslim pastors from CLUE, Bend the Arc, the Muslim Public Affairs Council, the Sanctuary Task Force of the Episcopal Diocese of Los Angeles, T’ruah: The Rabbinic Call for Human Rights, and L.A. Voice are joining the action, along with allies, union members and civil society.
President Trump’s executive order to end separation of these families does nothing to end the misery it is causing. We condemn the initial decision to separate families as an immoral tactic worthy of a dictatorship, not necessary to deal with people who only come here to ask for asylum.
“Our nation, with its promise of liberty and justice for all and with a Statue of Liberty proclaiming a warm welcome to immigrants, is disgraced by the use of Gestapo-style tactics to crush the spirits of thousands of parents and kill the futures of innocent children,” said Rabbi Jonathan Klein, executive director of CLUE. “Until this war on immigrants is over, we will remain united in disgust of this abhorrent practice by a morally bankrupt administration, and we will do what we can to comfort our brethren.”
We condemn the president’s language in referring to immigrants, which itself does violence to them. Calling them criminals and saying they “infest” the country gives others inside and outside government permission to continue to abuse them.
We condemn Trump’s decision to detain families together in isolated facilities, which ignores court orders and agreements prohibiting this, as immoral and cruel. We believe there are humane and effective ways to ensure their appearance in court. Isolating these families in tents in the desert, or in far-away family jails, deprives them of due process because they can’t look for attorneys to represent them or contact family and friends to help them.
We condemn the administration’s casual planning in this process, which appears to extend to having no plan to allow the more than 2,300 children already torn from their mothers’ arms to reunite with them. Many parents have already been sent back to their home countries without their children.
We demand that this administration, which claims to be on the side of law and order, restore law and order by rescinding family detention completely and allowing asylum-seeking families to rejoin their loved ones in safety so they can pursue their cases in law.