Between October 2017 and April 2018, 700 children have been separated from their parents at the border. One hundred of these children are under 4 years old. These children are thrust into detention centers often without an advocate or an attorney and possibly even without the presence of any adult who can speak their language. The Administration is separating children from their migrant parents at the border, even when they present legally themselves at official ports of entry to request asylum, which goes against Jewish and American values. As a network of human service providers, we are appalled at the Administration’s “zero tolerance” family separation policy and compelled to take action.
In the Network’s recent statement on family separation at the U.S. border, NJHSA Board of Directors Chair Perry Ohren and NJHSA President & Reuben Rotman issued the following statement:
In the weeks since U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions announced the new “zero-tolerance” immigration border policy on May 7, 2018, nearly 650 families have been prosecuted between May 6th and May 19th alone, with the number expected to rise. The new policy seeks to deliberately separate migrant families seeking asylum at the border, frightening children and potentially inflicting additional long-term trauma on them and their families.
As human service providers, the Network of Jewish Human Service Agencies finds this new Department of Justice/Department of Homeland Security policy to be in direct conflict with our Jewish values and our agency missions. Victims of persecution and violence deserve no less than a humane system that respects the basic tenets of the rule of law.
The Network firmly urges the administration and Congress to ensure the safety and well-being of migrant children and families by: halting the use of family separation as a deterrent; ensuring humane treatment at the border; helping children separated from their parents due to immigration enforcement; and providing legal representation to ensure unaccompanied children have a full and fair opportunity to make their cases and access legal protection.
As concerns mount for children and their parents at the border, please join us in signing this coalition letter – led by the Jewish Council for Public Affairs, the Anti-Defamation League, HIAS, and the Religious Action Center, demanding an end to this cruel practice, which has already harmed hundreds of children. The letter urges the Departments of Justice and Homeland Security to immediately rescind the policy of separating families at the border. This letter has already received national attention in a recent New York Times article and the organizers have decided to open it up to local communities and then will send an updated version to Attorney General Sessions and Homeland Security Secretary Nielsen. To sign on, please fill out this form by TUESDAY, JUNE 19th. Please also circulate to your local networks.