For Immediate Release
PHOENIX, AZ / WASHINGTON, DC – The National Hispanic Caucus of State Legislators (NHCSL), which represents the voices of more than 400 Hispanic state legislators from across the country, Puerto Rico and the US Virgin Islands, today called on the Trump Administration to award Temporary Protective Status (TPS) to families that have been separated by the cruel “zero tolerance policy” that started in April and has provoked the separation of thousands of families seeking asylum in the southern border. Below please find NHCSL President Sen. Carmelo Ríos’ (PR) remarks as prepared for delivery at a news conference in Phoenix today with community groups, and others:
“No civilized democracy would ever rip children from their parents’ embrace for petty misdemeanors; much less for merely trying to seek asylum. Nor would it question refugees’ lack of documentary formalities to prove the relationship between a mother and her child. The Trump Administration’s inhumane so-called ‘zero tolerance’ border policy has cost the United States its moral authority to question dictators and repressive regimes on the world stage. It has rightly drawn strong bipartisan condemnation at all levels, including from all living former First Ladies.
“President Trump continues to support ---and in fact yesterday’s executive order mandates--- the continued separation of children already in federal custody from their parents. So basically, family reunification will only be an option for future asylum seekers or other immigrant families but not the more than 2,000 children already separated.
“While we welcome the end of this unnecessary treatment for future families, the President must ensure that all families subjected to arbitrary separation be reunited. The President must also provide reparations for the grievances thrusted upon these families. We urge they be awarded TPS status immediately, so children do not remain behind bars and a semblance of a normal life can ensue.
“Unfortunately, the President’s order requires the Justice Department to request the end of the Flores Settlement Agreement. This landmark agreement guaranteed children could not be placed behind bars and cannot be in the custody of immigration authorities. If the courts comply with Trump’s request, thousands of children could remain behind bars indefinitely without ever having committed a crime.
“This is not the nation I know. Family reunification must take place NOW. Period. Anything less is cruel, is immoral, is inhumane, and quite simply, is un-American.
“¡Queremos familias unidas, no divididas!”
NHCSL is the premier national association of Hispanic state legislators working to design and implement policies and procedures that will improve the quality of life for Hispanics throughout the country. NHCSL was founded in 1989 as a nonpartisan, nonprofit 501(c)3 with the mission to be the most effective voice for the more than 400 Hispanic legislators. For more information visit www.nhcsl.org.