Hi, I’m Illinois Comptroller Susana Mendoza and I’m hoping you can spare a few minutes to hear me out.
On May 13, Mother’s Day, Marco Antonio Munoz, a Honduran man who had crossed the southern border into the U.S. with his wife and 3-year-old son the day before, committed suicide soon after being forcibly separated from his 3-year-old son.
Jailed and likely believing that he would never again see his family, he took his life in an act of ultimate despair.
People are literally dying as a result of a cruel Zero Tolerance immigration policy unapologetically embraced by President Trump that has already separated over 2000 children from their parents, forcibly, even as one was being breastfed by her mother.
This, in the United States of America.
Words can’t begin to properly express the depth of anger and horror that I feel towards the Trump Administration’s racist, anti-American and evil policy of tearing children away from the loving arms of their parents.
Parents who’s only “crime” was risking their lives to seek asylum and a chance at life for their children in America – the country they heard was a beacon of hope.
These acts are cruel, inflict irreparable harm on thousands of children, and do nothing to make our country safer.
President Trump would like us to believe that all immigrants are criminals, the worst of the worst, looking to infest our country.
While patently false, by referring to human beings as unwanted pests, he succeeds in dehumanizing them.
By dehumanizing them, he sets the stage for even worse atrocities to come.
America is in danger of losing her soul.
Look, if you support the separation of families – stop. It’s un-American.
If you’ve never walked a day in those people’s shoes and lack an ounce of empathy to try to relate, you should thank God that you won the lottery of being born in America.
Just try to imagine what it would feel like for you to have your screaming child ripped out of your arms. In the name of what? A Zero Tolerance Policy that has Zero Humanity?
Don’t say it’s for America because America is better than that.
Stop enabling a President who tweet by tweet and child by child is destroying the very fabric of what makes America what it truly is; the greatest idea ever created.
A country made of immigrants and built by immigrants and ideals, that welcomes and fosters dreams – not one that’s cruel and ruthless.
As the proud daughter of Mexican immigrants, and one of the highest-ranking women in Illinois government, it’s not lost on me that my parents sacrificed their personal dreams to give their kids a shot at the American dream.
They loved this country.
Thanks to a Republican President, Ronald Reagan, they became proud Americans, model citizens.
And its people like my parents and so many other loving, caring, and hard-working immigrants, coupled with true Americans who open their arms to strangers in need, that make America great.
President Reagan was right. President Trump is dead wrong.
We are a nation of laws, but sometimes we get it wrong.
Rather than embrace this evil policy, President Trump can unilaterally end it – now.
But he won’t, so it’s up to us to make sure that Congress stands up to the President and his Zero Tolerance Policy of separating families, reset our nation’s moral compass and regain its soul.
We can be on the right side of history.
Please join me and so many others on both sides of the political aisle in speaking out and mobilizing against this inhumane policy.
Here are three things you can do to help.
1. Support advocacy organizations that are helping separated families. There’s a whole bunch doing great work. Pick one or pick several.
2. Contact your representatives in Congress and let them know you’re opposed to the Zero Tolerance Policy of separating families. Your voice has the power to force real change. Use it.
3. Exercise your Constitutional right (while you still have it) to protest. Show up to a march or rally near you and show that the America that we love, still has a beating and loving heart.
Read this article – “How To Help Migrant Parents & Children Who Are Separated At The Border” – for a list of advocacy groups who need your support.
Find your member of Congress.
Find “Family Belong Together” events near you.
Support and donate to groups that provide legal representation to children and families in border states.
Sign up to volunteer with Refugee and Immigrant Center for Education and Legal Services (RAICES).
Donate to RAICES Family Reunification and Bond Fund.
Donate to LEAF Project for Universal Representation for Unaccompanied Children.
Visit the National Immigration Justice Center – they provide legal services and also advocate for policy change on the federal level.
Visit CARA – an umbrella organization for the Catholic Legal Immigration Network, the American Immigration Council, the Refugee and Immigrant Center for Education and Legal Services, and the American Immigration Lawyers Association. They offer legal services and policy advocacy as well.