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Bonamici to Trump: Separating Families is Unconscionable and Cruel

June 12, 2018
Press Release

WASHINGTON, DC [06/12/18] – Congresswoman Suzanne Bonamici called on President Trump to end his “zero tolerance” policy that is separating children and parents who try to seek asylum or cross the U.S. border. Bonamici has also called on ICE to allow lawyers to meet with immigrant detainees at the Federal Correctional Institution in Sheridan.

“In the strongest possible terms, I implore you to end the ‘zero tolerance’ policy that criminalizes victims of violence, endangers child welfare, and fails to address the root causes of the problem,” writes Congresswoman Suzanne Bonamici. “Incarcerating asylum seekers, separating families, and traumatizing children as a political calculus is unconscionable and reveals a mean-spiritedness that is chilling. These are children – not collateral to be used to dissuade further violence-induced migration and embolden anti-immigration zealots.

“Since introducing this policy last month, your administration has separated more than 600 children from their parents, including children as young as 18 months. Separating families as a punishment for seeking a safe future for themselves and their children through lawfully-established channels is deeply abhorrent and can lead to permanent harm to the health and well-being of these children. This approach is as cruel as it is misguided, and it should be abandoned.”

You can read Bonamici’s full letter to President Trump here.

Last week, Bonamici pressed Health and Human Services Secretary Azar to end the policy of separating families and called for greater transparency on the care and conditions of children in HHS custody. Bonamici has been a staunch advocate for holding ICE accountable, keeping ICE agents out of courthouses, hospitals, and other sensitive locations, and comprehensive immigration reform.