WASHINGTON, D.C. – Congresswoman Pramila Jayapal released the following statement in response to Donald Trump’s executive order today:
“Donald Trump’s new executive order allows for the indefinite detention of families and that is absolutely unacceptable. Immigrant internment camps are cruel and inhumane. Moreover, lengthy or unnecessary detention of children has been ruled unlawful. The zero-tolerance policy itself must end. If the Trump administration wants to now detain families during a criminal court case, that is unprecedented and will likely be challenged in court. Family separation is wrong. So is throwing families in jail.
“This order comes as a response to our movement and our organizing against the clear moral and human rights violation of separating children from their parents. However, it is far from sufficient. The president could have ended family separation with a simple phone call, but his new order expands family detention and continues the criminal prosecution of asylum-seekers.
“As the first member of Congress to speak directly to mothers inside a detention center, I believe it is the stories and voices of detained immigrants and children across the country that broke the hearts of the American people and had Americans of all parties stand up to condemn family separation. President Trump knew he had to back off this cruelty – but instead of rescinding his cruel policy, he simply traded one cruelty for another. My colleagues and I will continue to do everything we can to use our platforms to shine a light on the most vulnerable, and counter this administration’s outright lies and shifting rationales to mislead and sow division.
“Now, we cannot let up until we have a humane system in place. We must reject the false choice between taking kids away from parents or putting families in cages. What we need to do now is reinstitute the humane and cost-effective Family Case Management Program, which had a 99 percent success rate of families attending their asylum hearings – without using separation or detention. We must pass my legislation, the Dignity for Detained Immigrants Act, which would drastically reform our immigrant detention system, root out abuses and get rid of for-profit detention. And we must continue the fight for comprehensive reform to fix our broken immigration system, so that we uphold the welcoming American values that truly have made our country great.”