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Human Beings Are Not An "Infestation"

  ·  Sylvia Puente

Forum Executive Director Sylvia Puente joined Senator Dick Durbin on June 25th at El Valor's Cantu Children & Family Center in Little Village to meet with a classroom of children making cards of encouragement for children who've been separated from their families at the southern border. 

The following are Sylvia's comments to the media about the issue of family separation: I am outraged by this assault on immigrant and Latino families.  I am outraged by the callous disregard for the value of families.  I am outraged that human beings are being compared to an “infestation." 

I believe that our humanity as a nation is in turmoil. I believe that our response to this crisis will impact our hearts and indeed the soul of our nation.

1)      We must continue to express our outrage by contacting our members of congress, the president, the director of homeland security.

2)      We must donate to the organizations that are caring for these children, their mothers and fathers.  The Latino Policy Forum website has several organizations that are providing assistance, go to latinopolicyforum.org.

3)      Finally, I urge you to join us and the thousands of people expected to gather on the morning of June 30th for the Families Belong Together rally, as we lift our voices to express our outrage and speak our truth at Daley plaza.  The Latino Policy Forum is partnering with many organizations to call for the end of the presidents war on immigrants…. go to latinopolicyforum.org for more information.

Nurturing our children, caring for our children, loving our children is one of our highest callings. 

To have that life that we have nurtured, that life we have loved, literally forced from our arms… to have that life and love we have nurtured stripped away with callousness by the federal government brings forth an unimaginable pain that will be seared into the souls of these children and this nation for our lifetimes.

The trauma and the pain will impact their social, emotional, psychological and brain development.  This trauma robs their childhood and will likely rob the stability of their development long into adulthood.

The recently signed executive order abolishing the Administration’s “Zero Tolerance” policy provides no solution for the havoc that has been wrecked on these mothers, fathers, and children.  It does nothing to reunite them.  The government says children will be reunited soon, but who can really believe anything that comes from the White House anymore?  

The administration has already asked for permission to circumvent the 1997 Flores v. Reno Settlement Agreement, which prohibits the government from detaining children more than 20 days. 

It is not acceptable to keep children in detention camps with or without their parents. Have we already forgetten what was done to the Japanese and the Jewish people? 

It’s important to note that many of those families facing detention came to the US asking for asylum from drug cartels and violence that has thrived in their central American countries. And what do we do now to immigrants who come to us fleeing this environment? We throw them into detention camps and take their children away.

This is a dark period in our nation’s history. And it’s time that we put a stop to it.We have seen that our outrage and cries for justice can change the course of policy. I urge you to continue to speak your truth and join us on June 30th for the Families Belong Together rally. 

Posted In: Immigration Reform & Policy