FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
WASHINGTON — Former appointees who served under the Obama Administration today called for the Trump Administration to immediately reunite children who have been ripped away from their parents, end indefinite family detention, and respect the right to seek asylum.
“Watching policies be torn to shreds, and children who may never see their parents again, drove us to speak out,” said Nate Snyder, Chair of Latinos44. “We cannot stand by as our former co-workers, career officials, are forced to carry out in humane and undemocratic policies of the Trump Administration. We ask President Trump to restore our American and democratic values to these policies.”
Latinos44, an alumni association representing over 500 former Latino appointees who served across federal government under the Obama Administration, call for the restoration of democracy, justice and respect to the policies affecting immigrants who arrive at our borders and those who seek asylum in our country.
In a letter addressed to President Trump, the alumni association points out that the ‘zero tolerance’ policy is a fundamental departure from previous administrations’ policies under both Democratic and Republican presidents. The letter comes on the heels of news that over 700 kids in custody still have not been reunited with their parents, despite a court ordered deadline. Particularly concerning is the government’s assertion that some parents “are not eligible or available for reunification.”
Full text of the letter is as follows:
July 30, 2018
President Donald J. Trump
The White House
1600 Pennsylvania Avenue NW
Washington, D.C. 20500
As former Obama Administration appointees who served our country with integrity in line with our nation’s democratic values, we call on your administration to reunite families without delay, end indefinite detention of families, ensure due process and respect the right to seek asylum in this country.
Like the majority of Americans, we have been mortified by the images and stories of young children torn away from their parents after crossing into the United States. We are deeply concerned that your ‘zero tolerance’ policy has caused trauma, distress, and long-term consequences for innocent children. As of the July 26th deadline for reunification, we are concerned that over 700 children have yet to be reunited.
As former federal officials who served across federal government in the White House, Department of Homeland Security - including at ICE and CBP, Department of Justice, National Security Council, Department of State, Department of Health and Human Services, Department of Justice, and other agencies, we know we can both protect our border and treat migrants with dignity and compassion.
The ‘zero tolerance’ policy is a fundamental departure from previous administrations’ policies and turns its back on our American values. While the Obama Administration responded to a real crisis when the number of unaccompanied minors surged, today’s situation is a manufactured crisis. The increase in child detainees separated from parents stems directly from a change in enforcement policy suddenly devised by your Administration without considering its impact.
The blind replacement of prosecutorial discretion with ‘zero tolerance’ not only targets individuals who are merely fleeing violence for a better life, or seeking asylum but also it wastes limited federal resources that could be used to prosecute dangerous criminals and continue to secure our borders. These actions are actually making our communities less safe and come at a steep cost to the American taxpayers.
Latinos44 represents over 500 former Latinos were appointed public servants under the Obama Administration and who remain committed to the ideals that inspired us to serve our country. Democracy, justice, fairness, respect, and opportunity for all are undermined by the current response to the situation at the border.
We stand together to denounce this un-American policy that breaks apart families, fails to protect innocent children, and weakens our security.
Chair, Former Principal Countering Violent Extremism Senior Advisor, U.S. Department of Homeland Security
Vice Chair, Former Official, Office of Strategic Partnerships, The Peace Corps
Treasurer, Former Senior Director for Cabinet Affairs, The White House
Secretary, Former Deputy Assistant Secretary, U.S. Department of Health & Human Services
Inaugural Co-Chair and Board Member. Former Special Assistant to the President and Principal Deputy Director for the Office of Public Engagement, The White House
Inaugural Co-Chair and Board Member. Former Director for Recruitment and Outreach for the Office of Presidential Personnel, The White House
Inaugural Treasurer and Board Member. Former Deputy Director, White House Initiative on Educational Excellence for Hispanics, The White House