At this moment of painful developments regarding how migrant children are being treated by the United States government, The Sentencing Project lends its voice to the millions of Americans who are rising up to challenge these abhorrent policies. The punitive orientation of these policies to address social problems is an extension of historical practices that have resulted in mass incarceration. These include such notorious policies as the Black Codes, internment of Japanese American residents during World War II, and the ongoing War on Drugs. The illogical claim that these practices will serve as a deterrent to border crossing ignores the fundamental problems of poverty, violence, and injustice that fuel this migration. We know as well that the trauma experienced by the children caught up in this politically-inspired web will have lifelong consequences for them, their families, and their communities.
We call on the Trump Administration, Congress, and federal agencies to act urgently to:
Reunite all children who have been detained separately from their families and permanently desist from this practice going forward.
Revoke the zero-tolerance policy of criminally prosecuting all possible border crossings.
Reject an expanded policy of family detention.
Above all, these developments are fundamentally inhumane and uncivilized for a democratic nation in the 21st century. We vow to continue to work with all those who strive for a society that challenges injustice with a broad vision of fairness and equality.