FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
June 28, 2019
Stephanie Hogenson, Outreach Director
Saint Paul – Children’s Defense Fund-Minnesota (CDF-MN) is horrified by the stories that reveal the inhumane conditions at migrant detention camps. This unacceptable reality, accompanied by the threats of mass deportation raids, is doing real and lasting harm to children, and this practice must end.
Minnesota has long been a place where immigrants, refugees, and asylum seekers have called home. Close to 500,000 immigrants and 48,000 immigrant children make up the fabric of Minnesota. However, today immigrant children and families can no longer live in peace because some are being targeted through hostile and xenophobic rhetoric from our federal government that has become so pervasive that even very young children now live with the daily fear of being separated from a parent.
The Department of Homeland Security has said that parents detained while their children are at child care or summer camp may be deported while their children are left behind. This week, we see further evidence of children living in dangerous government detention centers, without access to hygiene or care. Deportations and family separations have dire consequences for children’s mental health and well-being, and put enormous strain on communities – especially the already over-burdened child welfare system.
That the U.S. Department of Homeland Security and Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) refer to the recent threat of ICE raids as the “family op” reinforces this administration’s callous disregard for the children’s lives that will be harmed and the families that will be torn apart by these actions. Targeting children and families in an effort to create fear among immigrant communities is immoral and runs contrary to the values upon which our country and state was built.
“Our country has a long history of separating children of color and Indigenous children from their families. We must do better. It is our moral duty as a nation and a state to protect and defend all children, regardless of where they come from, their cultural community or the color of their skin. We urge our Minnesota congressional delegation, state and local elected officials to demand that the federal government stop taking children from their parents. We further urge them to equip our communities with the resources they need to support families affected by these harmful practices,” said CDF-MN Executive Director Bharti Wahi. “One step Congress can take now is to pass the HELP Separated Children and HELP Separated Families acts that have provisions to reduce child trauma and promote family unity.”
CDF-MN calls on Congress to refuse to fund Trump’s mass deportation plan by ensuring that ICE and Customs and Border Protection (CBP) are not given additional resources to apprehend, lock up, separate, and deport children, youth, and families. Instead, we call for increased funding to nonprofits and community-based organizations that provide legal and other resources to support asylum-seekers. We also urge state and local officials to speak out against this proposal and equip their communities with the resources they need to understand and exercise their constitutional rights.
The Children’s Defense Fund Leave No Child Behind® mission is to ensure every child a Healthy Start, a Head Start, a Fair Start, a Safe Start and a Moral Start in life and successful passage to adulthood with the help of caring families and communities.