June 07, 2018

Eight state lawmakers -- stop taking immigrant children from families

All eight Democrats in Washington's congressional delegation have joined letters calling on the Trump administration to immediately cease forcibly taking children from their parents at America's southern border.

"Your administration's decision to separate children from their parents at the border is cruel, unnecessary and goes against our values as Americans," said Sens. Patty Murray, Maria Cantwell and 38 of their Democratic Senate colleagues in a letter to President Trump.

The letter was signed by all six West Coast senators from California, Oregon and Washington, including Sen. Jeff Merkley, D-Ore., who was barred last week when he sought to visit a facility where young children were being held.

The Trump administration has defended its separation policy as a deterrent that will discourage families of undocumented immigrants from crossing into the United States.

A letter signed by 110 House Democrats, which Rep. Pramila Jayapal, D-Wash., helped organize, argued otherwise. It asked that the House Appropriations Committee use spending legislation to bar the U.S. Deptartment of Homeland Security from separating families.

"Many parents arrive at our borders with their children to seek protection -- a lawful act," said the letter. "In the last several years, the numbers of such families apprehended at our southern border has increased.

"Overwhelming evidence shows this is driven by rising levels of violence and persecution in their home countries."

The letter was signed by Jayapal and U.S. Reps. Rick Larsen, Suzan DelBene, Adam Smith, Denny Heck and Derek Kilmer, D-Wash.

Gang recruitment, and consequences of refusing to join, has forced children and adults to flee, particularly from El Salvador and Honduras.

In writing to Trump, the senators told the 45th President:

"The decision to use this separation as a 'deterrent' is not only frighteningly callous but demonstrates willful ignorance of the violence and unlivable circumstances many families are risking their lives to escape."

The Trump Administration has defended is policy. "The big name of the game is deterrence," White House Chief of Staff (and former Homeland Security secretary) John Kelly told a recent radio interview.

Secretary of Homeland Security Kirstjen Nielsen, on a trip last week to the Arizona border, vowed a "zero tolerance policy," ridiculing critics: "They think illegal aliens should get different, perhaps better treatment than U.S. citizens because they happen to be illegal aliens."

In a bizarre tweet, President Trump blamed the Democrats for the separation of children from parents. (The number of young children forcibly separated from parents has topped 700, with more than 100 less than four years old.)

"Separating families at the border is the fault of bad legislation passed by the Democrats," Trump tweeted. "Border security laws should be changed but the Democrats can't get their act together."

But Republicans have controlled the U.S. House of Representatives since 2010, the Senate since 2014, and both Congress and the White House for more than 500 days. Trump made no reference to what laws he was talking about.

By:  Joel Connelly
Source: Seattle Pi