Lawyer Moms Deliver An Open Letter to All Members of Congress:

On June 29th, lawyers, mothers and our allies around the country gathered at our federal legislators’ offices and deliver an open letter letting Members of Congress know that swift measures must be taken to reunite the more than 2,345 migrant children who have already been separated from their parents and to prevent minors who continue to cross the border from being held indefinitely. 

We delivered the letter to over 326 members of Congress in 49 states. 

Find where we delivered here.

 

June 29, 2018

An open letter to all members of Congress:

We are Lawyer Moms of America, representing more than 15,000 lawyer moms and our allies across the country. We formed this group because we cannot abide the horror of migrant children being forcibly removed from their parents by the Department of Justice. We were called to action as citizens and as parents. We are lawyers who have sworn to defend the Constitution. We are intentionally nonpartisan.

On June 19, Lawyer Moms of America released an initial open letter to Members of Congress calling for an end to the abhorrent practice of forcibly separating migrant children from their parents. On June 20, President Trump signed an Executive Order purporting to end family separation, a policy he previously claimed to have no authority to address.

We are not fooled by the Executive Order. It inexplicably ignores the plight of more than 2,300 migrant children who remain separated from their families. It makes no plan to reunite them with their parents.

It is well established that both immigrants and U.S. citizens have constitutional due process rights, including the right to family integrity. The interest of parents in the care, custody, and control of their children is one of the Constitution's fundamental liberty interests. The continued separation of these families is an egregious violation of procedural due process, substantive due process, and federal asylum law. It is arbitrary and capricious in violation of federal law. It must be remedied by immediate reunification.

 What’s more, the Executive Order cruelly replaces family separation with family detention. The President asks us to accept these as our only options. This is a false choice. The crux of the problem is the Administration’s heartless “zero tolerance” policy, which directs prosecution and detention of migrant asylum seekers even where the misdemeanor offense of “improper entry” is their only applicable violation of our law. The family separation versus family detention conundrum has emerged solely because of the Administration’s insistence on jailing asylum seekers awaiting hearing on misdemeanor charges.

 The Executive Order doubled down on “zero tolerance,” but settled nothing; Administration officials have offered inconsistent statements since the President signed it. And as Trump toys with this question, the basic human rights of migrant families hang in the balance.

While immigration law and policy are complex, some issues are simple as matters of basic humanity. Each day separated from their families and/or held in captivity will do lasting harm to each and every one of these children. Our government has taken custody of these children— so we, as U.S. citizens, now hold responsibility for their care and well-being. They must not be held hostage while we debate comprehensive immigration reform.

  1. Requires the Department of Health and Human Services to take immediate, ceaseless, and exhaustive efforts to reunite each and every one of the more than 2,345 children who have been separated from their parents.

  2. In the absolute last resort, if no family can be located using every means possible, directs these children be placed in safe, well-documented situations that are not institutions. They should not be considered candidates for adoption in the United States. Reunification must remain the ultimate goal.

  3. Stops the Department of Justice’s cruel and ineffective policy of detaining migrant asylum seekers for the petty offense of improper entry, which leads to the separation and detention of migrant children.

  4. Ensures that migrant families remain together, outside of federal detention and institutions, pending proceedings on their asylum claims.

You must act immediately. As Lawyer Moms and allies, as parents, as Americans, as humans, we take the responsibility of the care of these children as seriously as if they were our own. We implore you to act as if it is your child who has been torn from your care by a foreign government. Do everything you would wish would be done to return your own child to you.

 Make sure no more families are ripped apart or held in de facto internment camps. Pass legislation which provides for family unity, safe conditions, and humane treatment for migrant families seeking asylum in accordance with U.S. and international law. We will not rest until every single child is reunited with their family.

 Sincerely,

Lawyer Moms of America

Allies:

Families Belong Together

MomsRising

Pantsuit Nation

Wind of the Spirit

Physician Moms Group

Sisterhood of Salaam Shalom

Children Now

Central Phoenix Inez Casiano National Organization for Women

Central Arizona National Lawyers Guild

Carolina Peace Center

League of Women Voters - Florida Chapter

One World, One Love

Perfect Love Foundation

Action Together New Jersey

American Constitution Society

Shared Harvest Fund

One Justice

Lawyers for Good Government

Action Together New Jersey

New Jersey Citizens Action

Westfield 20/20

Progressive Asian Network for Action (PANA)

LA Voice 

Elizabeth Bartholet

Morris Wasserstein Professor of Law,

Faculty Director, Harvard Law School Child Advocacy Program

Delegate Patrick A. Hope

Member, Virginia General Assembly

Delegate Alfonso Lopez

Member, Virginia General Assembly

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