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Press Release

Attorney General Shapiro Demands Attorney General Sessions End Cruel, Illegal Immigration Tactic of Separating Children from Parents at U.S. Borders

June 19, 2018 | Topic: Rights

AG Shapiro and 20 State AGs Demand Atty. Gen. Sessions End Practice Immediately  

HARRISBURG — Attorney General Josh Shapiro today called on United States Attorney General Jeff Sessions and Homeland Security Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen to end the cruel and illegal tactic of separating children from their parents as families lawfully seek asylum in the United States and protection from domestic, sexual and gang violence.

In recent weeks, the federal government has separated thousands of asylum-seeking children from their parents. Attorney General Josh Shapiro and a coalition of 20 attorneys general are demanding that U.S. Attorney General  Sessions immediately stop putting children in danger by separating them from their families.

“The Trump Administration’s family separation policy is un-American and violates the core principles and values of our nation,” Attorney General Shapiro said today, after sending a letter to Attorney General Sessions signed by 20 other Attorneys General. “President Trump has the sole authority to rescind his policy and should stop using children as leverage in political battles.”

In the letter to Attorney General Sessions and Homeland Security Director Nielsen, the attorneys general argue that in addition to being cruel and dangerous, these policies are at their core violations of international, federal and state law, as well as of longstanding legal precedent. Almost universally, those laws and precedents state that children’s best interests are in remaining with their parents, absent a judicial determination to the contrary.

“The deliberate separation of children and their parents who seek lawful asylum in America is wrong.” the attorneys general state in the letter. “This practice is contrary to American values and must be stopped. We demand that you immediately reverse these harmful policies, as it is in the best interests of the children and families affected.”

The letter also states that the Trump Administration’s policies “directly interfere with the efforts of our offices and other law enforcement officials—locally, nationally, and internationally—to prevent and prosecute crime. In most states, Attorneys General are responsible for enforcing laws that include human trafficking, drug trafficking, and gang violence offenses. As you are keenly aware, these issues are rarely local in context, rather they require the efforts and collaboration of law enforcement officials across both state and international borders to prevent the widespread and syndicated perpetration of these crimes.”

Attorney General Shapiro is joined by the attorneys general of New Mexico, California, Connecticut, Delaware, District of Columbia, Hawaii, Illinois, Iowa, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, Minnesota, New Jersey, New York, North Carolina, Oregon, Rhode Island, Vermont, Virginia, and Washington in demanding an immediate change in policy.

Please see attached for the letter that was delivered today.

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