On Friday, April 6, U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions announced in a memorandum the introduction of a zero tolerance policy for migrants who enter the United States without documentation.
Although there is no specific law that mandates family separation at the US-Mexico border, the separation of parents from children has occurred as parents who cross the United States’ southern border without documentation are prosecuted in criminal court for the misdemeanor of entering the country. Meanwhile, youths are referred to the Department of Health and Human Services, which in turn sends them to shelters or places them in the custody of sponsors.
Between May 5 and June 9, 2,342 children were separated from their parents at the border, according to the Trump administration.
There has been great public condemnation of the policy, with all four living former first ladies stating their opposition to it. Republicans and Democrats alike have also been vocal in their criticism. Responding to public outcry, Secretary of Homeland Security Kirstjen Nielsen called on Congress to “fix” the policy, negating the administration’s responsibility and complicity in family separation. “You do not need to break the law of the United States to seek asylum,” she stated. “We are a country of compassion. We are a country of heart.”
Open Americas does not believe that separating children from parents is compassionate. It is heartless.
Continue reading “Open Americas Statement on Zero Tolerance Policy & Family Separation”
On Monday, February 12, the White House released its budget request for the 2019 fiscal year. The document, which proposes drastically cutting the budgets for U.S. aid to Latin America, simultaneously increases defense and domestic infrastructure spending.
Open Americas firmly believes that any budget reflects the political and personal values of its creators. The very same strong sentiments of nativism, militarism, and U.S. exceptionalism expressed in the FY2019 document are embedded in policy decisions that adversely affect people throughout the Americas.
As it pertains to the relationship that the United States shares with Latin America, President Trump has requested roughly $1.6 billion USD to build 65 miles’ worth of a wall along the Texas-Mexico border and approximately $990 million USD to hire 2,750 new ICE and Border Patrol agents. In the same proposal, the President advocates for a $1.9 billion USD reduction in aid to Latin America, diminishing the United States’ ability to achieve its own regional objectives.
Continue reading “Staff Release: What Does Trump’s FY2019 Budget Mean for the Americas?”
On the morning of Tuesday, September 5, US Attorney General Jeff Sessions announced that the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program will be rescinded. An Obama administration 2012 executive action, DACA grants temporary legal status and provides 2-year work permits to individuals who were brought to the country as children without immigration documents. According to the Washington Post, an estimated 800,000 immigrants benefit from the program.
Sessions maintained that to best serve the national interest, Congress must determine and enforce a legislative limit on immigration. Claiming that DACA violates the Constitution, he stated, “…it is my duty to ensure that the laws of the United States are enforced and that the Constitutional order is upheld. No greater good can be done for the overall health and well-being of our Republic, than preserving and strengthening the impartial rule of law. Societies where the rule of law is treasured are societies that tend to flourish and succeed.”
Continue reading “Staff Release: Open Americas Condemns Decision to Rescind DACA Program”
On July 26, 2017, President Trump released a series of three tweets regarding transgender individuals in the military. His tweets declared that transgender individuals would be barred from any role in the military due to the need for “decisive and overwhelming… victory and cannot be burdened with the tremendous medical costs and disruption.” The contents of the three tweets are shown below. Open Americas condemns the policy indicated by these tweets by the current administration.
Continue reading “Staff Release: Open Americas Condemns Trump’s Ban on Transgender in Military”