NJEA today harshly criticized President Trump for signing an Executive Order that threatens to keep immigrant children locked up in long-term detention. Though he caved to enormous bipartisan pressure to end his horrifying practice of separating children from their parents and detaining them in cages, his cruel new policy of locking children up with their parents is immoral, emotionally damaging and likely illegal.
NJEA supported this week’s Executive Order by Gov. Phil Murphy ordering that no state resources be used to help implement the Trump administration’s previous family separation policy. Today, NJEA calls on all elected leaders and all people of good conscience to speak out and act against the new policy for detaining immigrant children and families seeking safety and a better life in the United States.
NJEA’s officers, President Marie Blistan, Vice President Sean M. Spiller and Secretary-Treasurer Steve Beatty, issued this statement:
“America is supposed to be a nation of hope, opportunity and welcome. For 131 years, the Statue of Liberty has proclaimed to immigrants and refugees ‘Give me your tired, your poor, your huddled masses yearning to breathe free.’ Nothing in our nation’s proclaimed democratic values can justify detaining children and families coming to America to claim that promise. We are especially disturbed that families fleeing terror and violence in their homelands and seeking asylum in the United States are being treated as criminals.
“As educators, we know that every child is worthy of our love and care. No human, and certainly no child, is illegal. No child should be unwanted or unwelcomed. We have a moral obligation to protect and educate every child. Nothing about a policy that locks up immigrant children and families lives up to our nation’s founding principles. We must not give in to the fear and hatred of a few and allow our nation’s values and ideals to be undermined.
“Our nation and the world demand that the president end his cruel, callous and inhumane treatment of immigrants and refugees. The damage already done by his horrific separation policy has caused irreparable harm to thousands of children and families, and the damage that will be done by his grotesque imprisonment policy will harm thousands more. We applaud those elected leaders, Republican and Democrats alike, who have spoken out against these atrocities, and call on them to continue their pressure to overturn this cruel new policy. And we stand in solidarity with people of good conscience across America using all the means at our disposal to protest and end this shameful era.”
By a vote of 193-231, the House rejected the NEA-opposed Securing America’s Future Act on June 21. Now, the House is preparing for a possible vote on the anti-immigrant Ryan/Goodlatte bill (H.R. 6136) that wastes billions of dollars on a border wall, calls for jailing children and families seeking asylum, and does NOT offer a reasonable a path to citizenship – 82 percent of Dreamers would not be helped at all.
NEA has long advocated for the bipartisan Dream Act of 2017 (S. 1615/H.R. 3440), which provides a pathway to citizenship via multiple tracks, including higher education, military service, and employment. The vast majority of Americans support this approach, but GOP leadership will not even allow a vote on the Dream Act.
Click here to take action and tell your representative to VOTE NO on H.R. 6136 and support taking up the Dream Act.
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