Oregon Peace Institute: Separation of immigrant and refugee children from their parents must end

For Immediate Release: June 4, 2018; Portland, OR

Oregon Peace Institute: “Separation of immigrant and refugee children from their parents must end” 

On June 3, 2018, U.S. Senator Jeff Merkley (D-Ore.) was denied his request to tour a Walmart turned into a detention center for immigrant children in Brownsville, Texas. As an elected public servant, he wanted to exercise his duty to provide important information to the American people. The public is provided with very little information on the workings and conditions of such immigrant detention facilities, which in this case is run by a non-governmental entity. Children housed in centers such as those often have been separated from their parents seeking refuge or asylum in the United States. Attorney General Jeff Sessions announced a zero-tolerance policy, openly stating that children will be separated from parents if they cross the border illegally.

The Board of Directors of the Oregon Peace Institute strongly condemns the unconscionable inhumane treatment of immigrant and refugee children by the U.S. government. We strongly condemn the separation of children from their parents and call for an immediate halt to those practices. As intermediate steps we urge the appropriate government entities in our democratic system to become fully transparent and accountable about all processes starting with the separation of children from their parents, the detention practices and conditions, to deportation procedures. The public has a right to know.

These children and their parents are not criminals. People uprooting their lives and bringing children on a dangerous and uncertain journey are desperate and should be met with kindness and empathy. Instead they are treated like criminals, dehumanized and exposed to further trauma through separation of their children. Anyone with only a little bit of human decency does not need any further impulse to be appalled by the U.S. government’s practices. The United Nations recognized the need for children to receive special care and assistance as outlined the Convention on the Rights of the Child (http://www.ohchr.org/EN/ProfessionalInterest/Pages/CRC.aspx). The U.S. government is blatantly violating the rights of the child.

The Oregon Peace Institute promoted and make available education and resources for peace and nonviolent conflict resolution in individual, community, national global and environmental contexts.

For further comment or questions, please contact us at Oregon.Peace.Institute[at]gmail.com or directly reach out to a director via the website www.orpeace.us