Immigrant and Civil Rights Organizations Join Sen. Kamala Harris to Oppose Trump Administration’s Family Separation Policy

Harris Will Tour Otay Mesa Detention Center While People Rally Outside To Protest the Policy. The Event Kicks Off a Weekend of Demonstrations in San Diego.

SAN DIEGO – The ACLU of San Diego and Imperial Counties and U.S. Sen. Kamala D. Harris (D-CA) will hold a rally and press conference outside the Otay Mesa Detention Center on Friday to denounce the Trump administration’s policy of separating families seeking refuge in the United States. This event kicks off a weekend of demonstrations occurring in the region as outrage mounts over the emerging humanitarian crisis created by the president’s anti-immigrant agenda.

“Kids don’t belong in jail. And neither do their asylum seeking parents just because they are seeking asylum. No law requires blanket detention of all asylum seekers without individualized determinations of whether detention is appropriate,” said Leticia Cazares, ACLU of San Diego and Imperial Counties board member.

Sen. Harris will tour the facility and visit with mothers who have been separated from their children. Following the tour, Sen. Harris, ACLU-SDIC representatives and partner organization will speak to the media. Due to Department of Homeland Security (DHS) restrictions, media are not permitted on the tour.

On April 6, Attorney General Jeff Sessions instructed all U.S. Attorney’s Offices along the southwest border to adopt a policy of “zero tolerance” for illegal entry and re-entry into the United States. On May 7, Sessions announced that the Departments of Justice and Homeland Security would partner together to prosecute anyone who crosses the border between U.S. ports of entry without authorization.

“While Trump may have rescinded the order to separate children from their parents, he is now caging children with their parents. This is wrong, abhorrent, inhumane and immoral. Children and families should not be used as bargaining chips in a political tug-of-war for a wall and more border agents. Trump should release the children to their families and communities, where they are safest, and stop holding them and others hostage, such as Dreamers, in exchange for more border militarization. To Trump we say this: we don’t want cages and walls; we want safe communities for all,” said Lilian Serrano, Chair of the San Diego Immigrant Rights Consortium and Southern Border Communities Coalition steering committee member.

The Trump administration’s policy has led to the forcible separation of hundreds of families in recent weeks. Numbers from DHS reveal that 2,342 migrant children, including newborn babies and toddlers, were taken from their parents at the border between May 5 and June 9. The policy was implemented with no plan nor infrastructure for reuniting these children with their families.

This widely-condemned “zero tolerance” immigration policy is the latest in a series of ill-conceived and unconstitutional policies implemented by the administration, including the Muslim ban, eliminating the DACA protections for young immigrants, ending the TPS (Temporary Protected Status) of various groups of people, and the pending expansion of “Operation Streamline,” the mass federal prosecutions of migrants – including thousands now criminalized by “zero tolerance.”

The magnitude of the family separation action has led to the construction of tent cities where some children are detained – out of the public’s view and hundreds of miles, away from their parents. These camps have been likened to the World War II-era internment camps where, in one of the most shameful periods of American history, more than 110,000 Japanese Americans and people of Japanese ancestry were forcibly relocated.

Even with the announcement of President Trump’s executive order suspending the practice of family separation, no clear information has been provided about when or if the children will be reunited with their families. Also, the executive order does not end the administration’s “zero tolerance” immigration policy, which means children may continue to be imprisoned with their families indefinitely.

WHO:

  • United States Senator Kamala D. Harris
  • ACLU of San Diego and Imperial Counties
  • Casa Cornelia
  • Coalition for Humane Immigrant Rights, LA
  • San Diego Immigrant Rights Consortium
  • San Diego Organizing Project

WHAT:

Rally, Press Conference and Media Availability

WHEN:

Friday, June 22, 2018

  • Rally 11:00 AM
  • Press Conference 11:20 AM