“There is no act lower than ripping innocent children from the arms of their mothers,” Clarke said in an exclusive Caribbean Life interview on Sunday.
“We have hit an all-time low as a people and a country,” added the representative for the 9th Congressional District in Brooklyn. “It is one of the most inhumane, cruel acts that could ever be taken by the Trump administration.
“As a second generation American, the daughter of Jamaican immigrant parents, I take these assaults on immigrant communities personally,” Clarke continued, stating that she has been “a staunch advocate for immigration rights, from fighting for a clean Dream Act, aggressively advocating to keep families together to keeping vulnerable children with their parents, and fighting the Trump administration on their revocation of DACA [Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals] and attacks on Diversity Visas.”
In addressing what she described as “the racist xenophobia of the Trump Administration,” Clarke said she has also advocated for the ASPIRE Act, a bipartisan bill to provide individuals who have received Temporary Protective Status (TPS) legal permanent residency.
“This administration has no bounds, even children don’t seem to matter,” the congresswoman said. “Therefore, I vow to continue to fight ferociously, along with my colleagues, against these grave injustices; and we don’t plan to stop until justice prevails.”
Amid the profound outrage, President Donald J. Trump on Saturday reiterated his erroneous claim that Democrats were responsible for his administration’s policy of separating migrant families apprehended at the US border.
He stuck to a weeks-long refusal to publicly accept responsibility for a widely condemned practice that has become a symbol of his crackdown on illegal immigration, the New York Times reported.
“Democrats can fix their forced family breakup at the Border by working with Republicans on new legislation, for a change!” said Trump in a morning post on Twitter.
His false claim came the day after his administration said that it had taken nearly 2,000 children away from their parents in a six-week period ending last month, as part of a new “zero tolerance” policy that refers for criminal prosecution all immigrants apprehended crossing the border without authorization, the Times said.
It said the White House defended the practice last week, saying the president was merely enforcing the law.
In recent speeches around the country, U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions has made a “spirited case for it, arguing that a strict approach is a vital tool for deterrence,” the Times said.
But it said Trump has “steadfastly tried to deflect blame for the separation of children from their parents, consistently dissembling about why it is occurring.”
“His comments are the latest example of his asking the public to discount what it sees with its own eyes and instead believe his own self-serving version of reality,” the Times said. “They also reflect how politically poisonous the issue has become, as photographs and news articles circulate about the effects of the practice.”
“I hate the children being taken away,” Trump told reporters on Friday in front of the White House during an impromptu 45-minute question-and-answer session on a wide range of topics. “The Democrats have to change their law — that’s their law.”
But, in fact, there is no law that requires families to be separated at the border, the Times said.
It said there is a law against “improper entry” at the border, as well as a consent decree known as the Flores settlement that limits to 20 days the amount of time that migrant children may be held in immigration detention, which a federal judge ruled in 2016 also applies to families.
The Times also said a 2008 anti-trafficking statute — signed into law by a Republican president, George W. Bush — also requires that certain unaccompanied alien minors be transferred out of immigration detention in 72 hours.
But the Times said none of those laws or precedents mean that children must be taken away from their parents.
“It is the Trump administration’s decision this year to prosecute all unlawful immigrants as criminals that has forced the breakup of families; the children are removed when the parents are taken into federal custody,” the Times said.
“While previous administrations have made exceptions to such prosecutions for adults traveling with their minor children, the Trump administration has said it will not do so,” it added.