For Immediate Release: June 25, 2014
Contact: Ricardo A. Ramírez, 202-905-1738
GOP Seeking Political Gain from Children on the Border While Worsening Domestic Family Separation in Latino and Immigrant Communities
WASHINGTON – The nation’s largest immigrant-rights coalition, the Fair Immigration Reform Movement, released the following statement on behalf of Kica Matos in response to Republicans’ shameful abdication of responsibility toward hundreds of thousands of children in the U.S. – families that are already a part of our communities who have had their parents taken away in the broken system that the GOP keep in place:
“House Republicans are already responsible for leaving thousands of children without parents across Latino and immigrant communities in the U.S. Trying to shift focus, lie, and distort over a separate, unrelated humanitarian issue is the lowest of the low – a shameful abdication of responsibility in search of political gain
“Beholden to far-right tea party conservatives, the GOP keeps in place a 1,100-deportations-a-day policy that leads to families torn apart and forced financial hardship in broken immigrant families for generations. Republicans continue this scapegoating despite the facts – the vast majority of the country supports commonsense immigration reform, and despite running out of logical excuses to oppose immigration reform.
“The victims of this family-separating approach have faces and live real lives. They are young children like 5th grader Esteban Verdugo, of Kalamazoo, Michigan. Esteban still remembers the day his dad was taken away. He talks about the tears he shared with his sister when losing his dad, and how his younger sibling was confused and didn’t even know that his father was being taken away.
“Tragedies like Esteban’s are unnecessary and all too common. By doing nothing on immigration, Republicans are effectively adopting a policy of family separation and, indeed, the House GOP openly promotes even more deportations from the interior. Esteban is but one of thousands of children who fall prey to the GOP’s strategy of paralysis and distortion every week. Thousands of them have been losing their parents for years due to Republicans’ refusal to deal with reality.
“And now, Republicans take their pattern of distortion and abdication of responsibility to another level by conflating the domestic family-separation crisis they’ve created with a serious but separate and unrelated humanitarian issue – this is shameful and despicable.
“To be sure, the families arriving on our borders from Central America are part of a long tradition of immigrants across the world coming to our shores and borders in search of refuge, hope and opportunity. Like many of our ancestors, these families would do anything and everything within their power to give themselves a fighting chance. These cases include horrifying stories of children and families escaping gang violence and crime. However it is a testament to our country’s leadership and strength that the hopeful, the strivers, and the fighters continue to knock on our door asking for a chance to make it – they highlight our status as a shining city on a hill.
“Our response to that humanitarian and refugee issue is not only about the families themselves, but about who we are as a country. For the sake of our heritage, our identity as a nation, and for our legacy, these families deserve robust, serious, and humanitarian attention in Congress.
“The GOP must stop its shameful tactics. Never mind that they should pass immigration reform to avoid a massive, self-inflicted political wound. Republicans need to handle the family-separation crisis they’ve manufactured within our communities and pass immigration reform because it’s the right thing to do.
“Republicans might try to confuse the public, but the fact remains that children like Esteban are losing their parents at the hands of the GOP. Our children deserve better and we can and must step up to fight for them.”