Today, legislative Democrats in the Ohio House and Senate announced state legislation opposing the Trump Administration’s family separation immigration policy, which has led to the mandatory separation of children from their parents at the border.
“We must stand as Americans and call for this system to end,” said Senator Cecil Thomas (D-Cincinnati), a joint Senate sponsor of the bill. “It is merciless, heartless, callous and contrary to all standards of decency. As leaders in Ohio, it is our duty to acknowledge that this practice is unacceptable, un-American and most certainly not Christian.”
The resolutions call on Congress to take immediate steps to pass legislation to stop the Trump Administration’s current policy interpretation and urge the President to use all means possible to immediately reunite children being held in immigration facilities with their parents.
“This policy is wrong and immoral – plain and simple,” said Minority Leader Kenny Yuko (D-Richmond Heights), a joint Senate sponsor of the bill. “For the families who fled danger in their home countries in search of safety in America, this is a cruel policy. We cannot stand by while thousands of children experience the trauma of being torn away from their families.”
In May, U.S. Attorney Jeff Sessions announced a new policy directive that any individual entering the United States illegally would be criminally prosecuted. While parents are incarcerated, their children are separated from them and kept in juvenile facilities. The former acting director of ICE recently told the New York Times that there is no formal system in place to ensure children and parents are reunified, putting them at high risk to be permanently separated.
“Families are fundamental to the stability and strength of the American spirit,” said state Rep. Michele Lepore-Hagan (D-Youngstown), a joint House sponsor of the legislation. “Families embody the self determination, freedom and happiness that we value as Americans. Ripping children away from their parents isn’t just immoral, it’s un-American.”
According to the Department of Homeland Security, nearly 2,000 children were separated from their parents between April 19 and May 31. The Office of Refugee Resettlement reports that about 11,000 children are being held in shelters nationwide.
“Tearing families apart tears apart the very fabric of who we are and the values we uphold as Americans,” said Rep. Janine Boyd (D-Cleveland Heights). “Remaining together as a family, free from undue government interference or forced separation, is a fundamental human right that the very founders of our nation sought to preserve in our young democracy.”
In addition to Senators Thomas and Yuko, Senate Concurrent Resolution 26 is co-sponsored by state Senators Edna Brown (D-Toledo), Sean J. O’Brien (D-Bazetta), Joe Schiavoni (D-Boardman), Michael J. Skindell (D-Lakewood), Vernon Sykes (D-Akron), Charleta B. Tavares (D-Columbus) and Sandra Williams (D-Cleveland).
The House Resolution is expected to receive a bill number this week, and has so far gained the support of Reps. Nickie J. Antonio (D-Lakewood), Kristin Boggs (D-Columbus), Thomas West (D-Canton), Richard Brown (D-Columbus), Brigid Kelly (D-Cincinnati), Michael Ashford (D-Toledo), Catherine Ingram (D-Cincinnati), Dan Ramos (D-Lorain), Teresa Fedor (D-Toledo), John Boccieri (D-Poland), Michael Sheehy (D-Oregon), Tavia Galonski (D-Akron), Emilia Sykes (D-Akron), Stephanie Howse (D-Cleveland), Kathleen Clyde (D-Kent), and David Leland (D-Columbus).