The Trump administration has earned few broad accolades, thanks to its harsh anti-immigrant policies. Separation of immigrant families at the United States’ southern border stands among the most prominent recent examples of this trend. The resignation of four members of a Homeland Security advisory council came last week among the many aftershocks of that policy.
Elizabeth Holtzman is among those who resigned, and her letter explaining her decision is available to read below.
— ALT- Immigration ? (@ALT_uscis) July 24, 2018
She blasted the Trump administration’s take on immigrants coming over the nation’s southern border as “laughable and appalling,” noting, in the process, the long history of Americans working to accept individuals from other countries. That ended up being the very foundation of the nation itself, although there of course have been a number of significant breaks in the implementation of that vision — one being the recent separation of immigrant children from their parents.
Holtzman, who when in Congress helped author the Refugee Act of 1980 as she noted in her letter, wrote to Secretary of Homeland Security Kirstjen Nielsen:
‘Under your administration and that of Donald Trump’s, DHS has been transformed into an agency that is making war on immigrants and refugees… the final straw has been the separation of children from their parents at the Southwest border. This is child kidnapping, plain and simple. Seizing children from their parents in violation of the constitutional rights of both is bad enough.., but doing so without creating proper records to enable family reunification shows utter depravity on the part of the government officials involved.’
The Trump administration dismissed Holtzman’s resignation and that of former Navy Secretary Richard Danzig, former DHS deputy general counsel David Martin, and former National Counterterrorism Center director Matthew Olsen as “unfortunate” considering Trump having moved to end the immigrant family separations. However, the draconian policy that has produced horrifying stories of children kept with little care in chain link enclosures remains hanging over the nation.
As recently as this past Monday — days after Holtzman and others announced their resignation from the DHS advisory council — nearly 1,700 children remained separated from their families. Concurrent to that information, The Texas Tribune noted that some 538 parents had been cleared for family reunification — but that still leaves over 1,000 potential reunifications up in the air. Some of the parents of the remaining children have already been deported, while other reunifications are being held up by a push for “further evaluation.” Monday, when that situation was in place, is just a few days before a court ordered deadline for the Trump administration to reunite separated families by July 26.
Holtzman is — in light of these issues — far from impressed with the Trump administration’s performance. She concluded her solo resignation letter on a harsh note, writing to Secretary Nielsen:
‘Although it is I who is resigning in protest of these policies, it is you who should be tendering your resignation instead.’
She noted to The Washington Post that she didn’t believe her resignation would change the course of the Trump administration’s immigration policy, but she maintained that it’s important for those outside of government to see that “actually some of us do have a measure of conscience.”
As those measures of conscience continue to get their time in the spotlight, those opposed to the Trump administration’s policy stances continue on with efforts to take back some control of government in the midterm elections later this year.
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