Caribbean American Democratic New York City Councilman Jumaane Williams has rejected President Donald J. Trump’s executive order that seeks to curtail the separation of families at the US border by detaining parents and children together of an indefinite period.
“The Trump administration’s executive order does nothing to fix the humanitarian crisis at our border and does nothing to reunite the thousands of children ripped from their families, or as Trump referred to them ‘animals’, as they flee danger and hardship in pursuit of a better life, or as Trump said, to ‘infest our country’,” said Williams, the son of Grenadian immigrants, Wednesday night.
“This is not an acceptable solution,” added the representative for the predominantly 45th Council District in Brooklyn. “The Republicans, who wholeheartedly support the president, and the Democrats, who have played politics, are to blame for dehumanizing those most in need while feeding into Trump’s bigotry and xenophobia, and so must push back against this fascist and fledgling Nazi regime.
“New York stands strong with our immigrant communities, and will not be party to this atrocity,” continued Williams, a candidate for New York States Lieutenant Governor. “We must be a sanctuary city, a sanctuary state, and stand in fierce opposition to Donald Trump and his allies, as they target the most vulnerable among us.”
Trump on Wednesday acquiesced to scathing criticism and nationwide outrage over his policy of separating children from their parents at the US border by signing the new executive order to keep detained parents and children together.
“We’re going to have strong — very strong — borders, but we are going to keep the families together,” said Trump as he signed the order in the Oval Office in the White House. “I didn’t like the sight or the feeling of families being separated.”
But legal and political analysts say Trump still faces legal and practical hurdles, as a United States federal judge could decline to grant the administration authority to detain families for more than 20 days, according to a 1997 US court order.
Analysts also say that the new executive order fails to address the plight of over 2,300 children who were already separated from their parents under Trump’s “zero tolerance” policy.
Just hours before Trump signed the new executive order, New York State legislators and advocates held a press conference at the State’s capital, Albany, condemning what legislators described as “the heartless policy of separating children from their families” and ripping the White House for its refusal to end the practice.
“Our country is a nation of immigrants, and I reject any attempt to crack down on vulnerable people fleeing unimaginable circumstances in an effort to save their families’ lives,” New York State Assemblywoman Rodneyse Bichotte, the daughter of Haitian immigrants, told Caribbean Life after the press conference.
“We have all seen the tragic images of children in cages at the border, children ripped away from their parents, and we have also heard horrifying cries of these young children as they scream out for their mothers and fathers,” added Bichotte, representative for the 42nd Assembly District in Brooklyn.
“The type of country that would do something so appalling to families merely seeking a better life for themselves is not one I want to call home,” she continued.
Earlier this week, Caribbean American Congresswoman Yvette D. Clarke expressed outraged over separation of children from parents at the US border.
“There is no act lower than ripping innocent children from the arms of their mothers,” said Clarke, the daughter of Jamaican immigrants, 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.”
Henrietta Fore, the head of United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF), said on Tuesday that separating children from their families is in no-one’s best interest, pointing to “heartbreaking” stories of infants who had been rremoved from their parents after entering the US from Mexico illegally.
In an appeal to the US regarding its recent policy change cracking down on migration at the border with Mexico, Executive Director Fore said in a statement that children who were in need of international protection “have the right to be protected and be with their families”.
She underscored how, for decades, the US Government had provided support to “uprooted children” from Syria or South Sudan, Somalia, or Haiti, before warning that detention and family separation can create “toxic stress” which can impact on children’s long-term development.
Fore said that any youngsters forced to flee their homes should have access to essential services and be with their families, since this gave them “the best chance at a healthy, happy and productive future.”