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NAACP Strongly Supports and End to the Zero Tolerance Immigration Policy Which Separates Families

WHEREAS, from its earliest days, America has been a nation of immigrants, starting with inhabitants, who crossed the land bridge connecting Asia and North America tens of thousands of years ago; and 

WHEREAS, the United States has always been epitomized as a nation of immigrants due to the fact that, with the exception of the indigenous inhabitants who were already here when Europeans began arriving in the 16th century, everyone today living in the United States is either an immigrant or descended from immigrants; and 

WHEREAS, America's venerable spirit of welcoming immigrants is symbolized in the New York City Harbor by the colossal and iconic Statute of Liberty, a gift from France dedicated in 1886, with a world renown inscription which reads in part, "Give me your tired, your poor, your huddled masses yearning to breathe free"; and 

WHEREAS, in defiance of the nation's personification of being a refuge for immigrants, the administration of Donald J. Trump has engaged policies of unpardonable atrocities by wantonly and carelessly separating families desperately seeking asylum in the United States by crossing the border without documentation; and 

WHEREAS, dozens of parents are being split from their children each day — the children labeled "unaccompanied minors", then placed in government custody or foster care, while the parents are labeled criminals and sent to jail; and 

WHEREAS, between October 1, 2017 and May 31, 2018, an estimated 2,700 children have been split from their parents, with some 1,995 of them having been detained between April 18 to May 31 — reflecting an average of 45 children currently taken from their parents each day; and 

WHEREAS, since the zero-tolerance policy began in April 2018, under cloak of secrecy, the world has witnessed images of children caged inside chain link fences, often sleeping on floors and crying themselves to sleep because they don't know where their parents are; while parents suffer in so much despair that one Honduran man killed himself in a detention cell after his child was taken from him; and 

WHEREAS, there are reports that hundreds of records listing families and linking children to their parents have either disappeared or have been destroyed by Customs and Border Protection agents in violation of the Federal Records Act, leaving the authorities struggling to identify connections between family members; and 

WHEREAS, there are serious concerns that the White House Executive Order, issued on June 20, 2018, will lead to more secrecy, indefinite detention and confusion over the handling of children at the border, dropping them over the border or handing them off to non-relatives without notice; nor does the Executive Order address how the separated children in custody will be immediately united with their parents who have been detained by Immigration and Customs Enforcement or who have already been deported, nor detailed the time frame of any reunification process; and 

WHEREAS, on June 26th, U.S. District Court Judge Dana Sabraw issued an injunction in a class action lawsuit filed by the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) requiring that children younger than five must be returned to their parents within two weeks, while children older than that must be reunited with their families within 30 days; and 

WHEREAS, Judge Sabraw also ordered immigration officials to stop separating families and allow children to call their parents within 10 days, and in his order, Judge Sabraw called the family separation "a chaotic circumstance of the Government's own making" and concluded that the practice had denied immigrants their right to due process.  

THEREFORE BE IT RESOLVED that, the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP), joins other organizations committed to government openness and accountability, civil liberties, human rights, and civil rights, in urging the United States Congress to immediately investigate the records management practices of the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) relating to the administration's "zero-tolerance" immigration enforcement policy and family reunification efforts, which has caused a serious humanitarian crisis; and 

BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED that, the NAACP advocates for complete openness and transparency so that the public, family members, lawyers, and Congress will be amply informed, so that urgent action can be taken to prevent more children from being temporarily and/or permanently lost to their families; and  

BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED that, the NAACP calls on members of the United States Congress to support reunification measures including, but not limited to family mental health counseling to address separation trauma, provide maximum disclosure in accordance with the law, and end the secrecy surrounding the zero tolerance policy; and 

BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED that, the NAACP implores the United States Congress to introduce and pass a bipartisan immigration reform package which embodies the nation's "melting pot" principles of embracing diverse heritages and allocate adequate funding and resources to support the needs of border towns in providing the social services needed for immigrants to have a survival bridge; and 

BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED that the NAACP commends the ruling of U.S. District Court Judge Dana Sabraw and his steadfast stance that the court-imposed deadlines for the government to reunite families separated at the border will remain intact, and recommends imposing staunch penalties and sanctions against the Trump Administration and the Department of Homeland Security for each and every day of delay in adhering to the court ruling; and 

BE IT FINALLY RESOLVED that the NAACP remains ardently opposed to the separation of families.