By Debra Schrishuhn for Mike F., Donna, Mike H., Janis, Dan, Kimberly, Bryan, Judy, Dr. Bill, and Shayna—your PDA National Team
Progressive Democrats of America (PDA) was founded in 2004 to uphold the rights of all—including immigrants, asylum-seekers, DREAMers—everyone means everyone. We’re outraged at the cruel Trumpublican assaults on these basic principles. The July 26 deadline for reunification of all children forcibly separated from their parents at the U.S.-Mexico border has come and gone. Once again the Trump administration has shown its willingness—nay, eagerness—to sow discord and disruption in the fabric of daily life with utter disregard for real life and death consequences.
Call the US Capitol Switchboard at (202)-224-3121, and they will connect you to your Senators and Representative. Ask to speak to (or leave a voicemail for) the staffer working on Immigration issues. Say you’re their constituent and you expect them to cosponsor and work to pass legislation to abolish ICE (the Immigration Control Enforcement agency), end Trump’s “Zero Tolerance” policyand, enact humane, fair, and effective immigration policies.
Last week only 14 immigrant children were reunited with their parents, bringing the total number of forcibly separated children still in government custody to 497, including 22 children under age 5, some of whose parents were deported without them. The appalling lack of progress on family reunification is exacerbated by the government’s sloppy record-keeping and rush to deport parents without their children.
Let’s be very clear—these separations are emotionally traumatic and can result in long-term psychological damage to the separated children as well as their parents. An immigrant father committed suicide in detention after being forcibly separated from his family. In August an 18-month-old infant died of a respiratory infection contracted and inadequately treated while in Immigration & Customs Enforcement (ICE) detention, according to a lawsuit filed by her grieving mother.
A federal judge ordered the Trump administration to resume the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program—the administration is resisting the order. Asylum requests based on domestic and gang violence continue to be denied. Immigrants who join the military with the expectation of an expedited citizenship path at the conclusion of their service are being terminated without an opportunity to apply for citizenship. Now the Trump administration is revoking passports of U.S. citizens born near the southern border if their mothers used midwife services rather than hospitals.
But wait, there’s more—on August 30, the administration announced plans to cancel all aid for the United Nations aid program for Palestinian refugees and a 90 percent reduction in the number of recognized Palestinian refugees (from 5 million to 500,000).
A September 2017 analysis from SocialSecurityWorks.org shows that Trump’s anti-immigration policies could cost the program up to $2.4 trillion over the next 75 years, because of a halving in immigration over the long term, as well as the ending of DACA, that would reduce Social Security contributions by an estimated $33.1 billion over the next decade.
What can you do? Call (202)-224-3121 and email your members of Congress. Tell them to reunite families, restart DACA, honor military service by immigrants, abolish the current corrupt structure of ICE, reinstate humane asylum request rules, and stop revoking passports of American citizens.
Debra Schrishuhn for Mike F., Donna, Mike H., Janis, Dan, Kimberly, Bryan, Judy, Dr. Bill, and Shayna—your PDA National Team
P.S. Help us step up our organizing on the issues you care about. Give $100 or Whatever You Can to Support PDA Now! We’re here to help you make progress in your state and locality! If you need any help organizing a new PDA chapter or energizing your existing chapter, please contact PDA Field Coordinator Dan O’Neal.