Members of the New York State Senate and Assembly today released an open letter demanding the Trump administration stop further traumatizing children. The members emphatically said to the Trump Administration that #FamiliesBelongTogether and called for the end of the inhumane policy of separating innocent children from their parents who cross the Southwest border seeking asylum in the United States. The letter is a joint effort by the Assembly’s Task Force on New Americans; Black, Puerto Rican, Hispanic & Asian Legislative Caucus; Legislative Women’s Caucus; Puerto Rican/Hispanic Task Force; Task Force on Women’s Issues; and Asian Pacific American Task Force.

Legislators stressed the short- and long-term damage to these children from being unnecessarily separated from their families. Since Attorney General Jeff Sessions announced Trump’s so-called “zero-tolerance” policy, thousands of children have been separated from their parents and are being held in detention centers and other institutional facilities.

The letter echoes the message of hundreds of state and national child development, child welfare and juvenile justice groups from all 50 states that sent a similar letter to Department of Homeland Security Secretary Kirstjen M. Nielsen.

“We write to demand you immediately reverse course on the Administration’s inhumane decision to separate children from their parents at the border,” legislators said in today’s letter.

Legislators underscored that the administration’s cruel and unnecessary separations run counter to widely accepted standards of care that prioritize keeping children and families together whenever possible.

“Best practices and ample evidence in child welfare promote keeping children and their parents together…unnecessarily separating children from their parents further exacerbates the situation.”

6-20-18 Letter on Family Separation