Position Statement on Child Separation, Family Detention, and Asylum Seekers at the Southern U.S. Border

In 2018, the Trump administration’s “zero tolerance policy” cruelly separated parents and children arriving together at the United States southern border between ports of entry. The policy required prosecution of everyone apprehended between ports of entry, including asylum seekers, and took away their children without any dear procedure to reunite the children with their parents. The National Coalition of 100 Black Women of Dallas opposes any policy of family separation and believes such a policy is an atrocity. There is no justification for inflicting trauma on children and families, restricting due process, and violating the norms of family unity and decency.

In response to public outcry, the Trump administration purportedly stopped family separation and implemented another cruel policy of extended family detention, incarcerating entire families in de facto prisons, However, the law requires release of individuals with alleged immigration violations pending their hearings, unless the person presents a flight risk or public safety risk that cannot be addressed by alternatives to detention (ATD). Immigration detention has been proven to jeopardize the basic health and safety of those detained, especially children.

The National Coalition of 100 Black Women of Dallas opposes family detention centers and urges the use of cost-efficient, community-based ATDs. According to government data, ATDs are far less expensive than detention, costing around $4.50 per day compared to the $319 per day to hold an individual in a family detention center. ATDs are also highly effective, with over 90%, of individuals appearing at required hearings.

The Trump administration also has eroded the due process rights of asylum seekers at ports of entry and in other border regions. Both U.S. immigration law and international law guarantee the right to seek asylum for those who come to our nation’s borders, regardless of whether or not they arrive at a designated port of entry. Despite the overwhelming evidence that many coming from Central America are refugees, seeking asylum, the Trump administration has refused to extend these legal protections and is undermining access to asylum.

The National Coalition of 100 Black Women of Dallas believes in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, which states: “Everyone has the right to seek asylum from persecution.” We urge the administration to abandon any policies that circumvent America’s promise to protect those fleeing violence and persecution.

The core values of the National Coalition of 100 Black Women are gender equity, inclusion, respect, racial & social justice, integrity & accountability, economic empowerment, and collaboration. We demonstrate our commitment to these values by using our voice and actions to advocate for women and children.

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Position Statements