At our monthly meeting last night, the Miami Beach Democratic Club unanimously endorsed a statement condemning the Trump administration's policy of separating immigrant families and detaining immigrant children in facilities like the Tornillo Detention Center near El Paso, TX.
The statement reads:
Last summer, the Trump administration’s zero tolerance policy on immigration resulted in the separation of more than 2,500 children from their parents at the US-Mexican border.
After enormous public outcry, a federal judge ordered the administration to reunite the families. Months later, the administration is still in violation of that court order, and over a hundred of those children remain separated. Moreover, the Associated Press recently reported that these children could be legally adopted in the United States without their parents’ consent.
At the same time, detention centers are expanding across the border region to warehouse immigrant children. The Tornillo Detention Center near El Paso, TX opened this summer and has grown sixfold since then, with no end in sight. Over two thousand children are believed to be detained there. They represent just a fraction of the 13,289 children in detention as of early October.
Many of these children and families are fleeing the Northern Triangle, a region that includes Honduras, Guatemala and El Salvador, where vicious infighting between gangs and drug cartels makes death a daily reality for those who remain. For those who are sent back, deportation can be a death sentence.
Separating immigrant children from their parents also puts them at risk for long-term physical and psychological damage. Many of these children may never recover from the trauma inflicted on them by an inhumane immigration policy.
In addition, the Trump administration has ramped up militarization of the border with Mexico and put immigrant children at risk by attacking families who receive public benefits, all while the president uses the same dehumanizing rhetoric that characterized his campaign. Thanks in part to the xenophobic atmosphere that President Trump and his surrogates stoke on a daily basis, hate crimes are on the rise across the U.S.
Many of our Miami Beach neighbors came to South Florida from across Latin America and the Caribbean fleeing oppression; others simply came seeking a better life. Our synagogues are also home to those who survived the horrors of the Holocaust, and to their descendants. We know that our community is stronger for its diversity, and that official hatred leads down a dark path.
The immigration policies of the Trump administration and the Republican Party do irreparable damage to children and families, and betray American values of fairness and equality. The Miami Beach Democratic Club joins the vast number of fair-minded Americans who demand an end to child detention and family separation for those seeking refuge in the United States.
Many thanks to Ileana Oroza, our secretary, for drafting this statement.