Bill Introduced To Stop Barbaric Practice of Family Separation

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New York Immigration Coalition (NYIC) Executive Director Steven Choi (center) stands with New York U.S. Senator Kirsten Gillibrand (second from right), co-sponsor of the Keep Families Together Act. Also pictured from left are NYIC Vice President of Advocacy Murad Awawdeh; NYIC Director of Immigration Policy Anu Joshi; and NYIC Director of Immigration Legal Policy Camille Mackler. (NYIC Photo/Jano Tantongco)

Amid fervent calls to end the practice of family separation, New York Senators Chuck Schumer and Kirsten Gillibrand have co-sponsored the Keep Families Together Act, introduced last week by California Senator Dianne Feinstein.

“Tearing young children from their parents’ trembling arms isn’t #MAGA, it’s morally bankrupt. Americans from across the political spectrum are outraged and thankfully New York Senators Schumer and Gillibrand have moved to keep families together,” said Steven Choi, Executive Director of the New York Immigration Coalition. “We urge Congress to follow suit and show some common decency and mercy even if the President won’t.”

The bill would prevent the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) from separating children from their parents when they arrive at the U.S. border. Since May, hundreds of families have been torn apart.

Attorney General Jeff Sessions callously proclaimed last month the implementation of a zero-tolerance policy that will criminally prosecute anyone who crosses the border unauthorized, including if it means ripping apart children and their families. Speaking with NPR just weeks ago, White House Chief of Staff John Kelly openly admitted that the “name of the game is deterrence” regarding family separation.

On Wednesday, eight House representatives engaged in civil disobedience to protest the family separation policy by blocking a street by the steps of the U.S. Customs and Border Patrol building in Washington D.C.

And, the United Nations has even denounced the White House for tearing children from families who are often fleeing deadly conditions in their homelands. As Alternet reported, Ravina Shamdasani, spokesperson for the U.N. High Commission for Human Rights, said that the practice “runs counter to human rights standards and principles.”

“The child’s best interest should always come first, including over migration management objectives or other administrative concerns,” Shamdasani said. “It is therefore of great concern that in the U.S. migration control appears to have been prioritised over the effective care and protection of migrant children.”

June 14 marks a national day of action to end family separation, with rallies being held in 46 cities across the U.S. For more information, visit familiesbelong.org.


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