E-advocacy for July 2018: If You Break It, Fix It
Our government must immediately reunite the families they ripped apart at the border.
The United Nations high commissioner for human rights called the separation of children from their parents “government-sanctioned child abuse.” The American Academy of Pediatrics, American College of Physicians, and American Psychiatric Association has condemned this program on the grounds that it can lead to serious short-term and long-term health consequences, including toxic stress response, which interferes with brain development in small children.
More than 2,300 children have been separated from their parents under the president’s “zero-tolerance” border enforcement program. According to the New York Times, “Parents said they still did not know how to track down their children, and struggled to find out any information through a 1-800 hotline set up by the federal Office of Refugee Resettlement. Others who had located their children said they were still separated by thousands of miles and a bureaucratic maze they did not know how to navigate.”
The administration’s focus is not on reuniting families, but rather on using detained children as a deportation tool. Accompanying the creation of the zero-tolerance program was the promulgation of tough new rules that direct Health and Human Services to vet any parent, relative, or other potential sponsor who seeks to retrieve a child from government custody. HSS must collect the sponsor’s name, date of birth, address, fingerprints, identification document, citizenship, immigration status, criminal history, and immigration history. This information has to be gathered about any adult living with the sponsor, too. Then HSS is required to give the information to Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE), the agency in charge of deportations.
As Reform Jews, our tradition requires to take action in the face of cruel and immoral policies. We are commanded no less than 36 times in the Torah to love and care for the stranger, foreigner, or immigrant. Separating them from their children is not the way to do this. Click here to tell Congress and the Trump administration to reunite immigrant families immediately.