Families Belong Together Austin - Statement Of Support
Texas Progressive Action Network stands behind the Families Belong Together Austin March and Rally event scheduled for June 14th in Austin, Texas. We support the call to put an end to, or mitigate, the White House administration's continuation of policies which result in either the fracturing of immigrant families or illegal pushback of refugees filing for asylum. The Border and Maritime Security Subcommittee has already been made aware of the growing crisis in the area referred to as the Northern Triangle of Central America but, nevertheless, continues to ignore the remarkable conditions pertaining to immigrants from this region.
The denial of asylum to these refugees (which has been well documented and on record with several human rights organizations) is a blatant disregard of both U.S. law and human rights obligations. Each time the United States denies asylum it finds itself in violation of the non-refoulement principle (Article 33) which the U.S. bound itself to as part of the 1967 Protocol of the 1951 Convention Relating to the Status of Refugees.
As to the separation of asylum-seeking parents from their children, there is no ambiguity in regards to the clear violation of U.S. law by agencies such as ICE, ORR and the U.S. Customs and Border Patrol.
The Flores v. Reno Settlement Agreement of 1997 was reaffirmed by the U.S. District Court for the Central District of California.
The court held that two congressional statutes passed since the settlement (Homeland Security Act and the Trafficking Victims Protection Reauthorization Act) did not expunge Paragraph 24A of the Flores Settlement.
Other recent court hearings have also affirmed that detention centers (also referred to as ''recreation facilities") have failed to adhere to strict guidelines pertaining to the detentions of minors as well as to the living conditions of these facilities.
There is no uncertainty that both U.S. foreign and economic policies over the past 40 years have proven harmful to Central America. Uneven trade agreements such as CAFTA and NAFTA along with either the direct or indirect complicity in regime change of democratically elected governments have resulted in dire living situations for many of the immigrants from the Northern Triangle. In fact many of these immigrants are literally fleeing for their lives as a result of the aforementioned policies and U.S. culpability.
The fear that these immigrant families face, in their struggle to remove themselves from the real and inherent dangers in their respective nations, is only compounded by the inhumane and unjust treatment they are subjected to once arriving upon U.S. borders.
On this, there can be no gray area or confusion: Tearing these families apart inflicts psychological trauma and represents cruel and unusual punishment.
There is no pragmatic justification for this practice especially since it is well documented that the release of these families often proves to be an effective practice with more than 90% of detainees making their court dates.
Furthermore, it is not a crime under either international or U.S. domestic law to be present in the United States in an 'irregular' manner. Illegal immigration is a civil violation that does not justify the inhumane treatment of the 'accused'.
Texas Progressive Action Network stands in full support of Families Belong Together and in the call for immediate reform to current U.S. immigration laws and policies.
Our suggested reading and references:
- http://www.unhcr.org/4ca34be29.pdf (page 233), http://cdn.ca9.uscourts.gov/datastore/opinions/2017/07/05/17-55208.pdf