Update: This story is developing as Trump is expected to sign an executive order ending the separation policy.
Breaking News: President Trump plans an executive order to stop separating families at the border by detaining them together. It may face a legal challenge. https://t.co/ffSfijzpjk
— The New York Times (@nytimes) June 20, 2018
As news developed Wednesday morning that the Homeland Security Secretary was drafting an order to end family separation at the border, leaders with Chattanooga’s La Paz urged people to speak out against the Trump administration’s policy.
“This isn’t an appropriate response to immigration or to people coming in,” La Paz Social Impact Director Vivian Lozano Sterchi said. “It’s causing trauma to these families and especially to the young children who don’t understand what’s happening.”
Since President Donald Trump’s administration began enforcing a zero-tolerance policy in April at the border, at least 2,000 children have been taken from their parents.
Crossing the border illegally is a misdemeanor charge. After deportation, if someone crosses again, it becomes a felony.
Trump has both defended the policies and denied that they are from his administration. He’s said the administration wants to prevent crime at the border and at the hands of gang members who may come into the country illegally.
La Paz, which connects local members of the Latino community with an array of resources, generally doesn’t wade into politics, but in this instance, the nonprofit’s leaders are urging people to call lawmakers and tell them they want this practice to stop.
“Who is advocating for these kids?” Sterchi said. “How are we making sure their information is being taken down correctly? What steps are being taken to make sure they are reunited with their parents?”
Some children who are being separated may not be able to tell officials their parents’ names or date of birth, she said.
Despite Trump’s assertion that the policy will prevent gang members from coming into the country, Sterchi said that many people who are trying to cross the border fleeing violence and hardship.
“They are trying to escape the fear of being hurt or killed and, in some cases, they are fleeing extreme poverty and extreme hunger,” she said.
On Wednesday, the Associated Press reported that Trump would be “signing something” on immigration and that he wants to keep families together.
U.S. Sens. Bob Corker and Lamar Alexander both said Monday that the Trump administration’s new zero-tolerance enforcement policy isn’t the right approach.
BREAKING: Trump says he'll be "signing something" on immigration, wants to keep migrant families together. https://t.co/XHAXPsFCsO
— The Associated Press (@AP) June 20, 2018