On Aug. 6, 2018, the Alexandria Democratic Committee unanimously passed a Resolution condemning the zero tolerance policy of President Donald Trump, authored by long-time ADC member Paul Friedman. President Donald Trump, Attorney General Jeff Sessions, White House Policy Advisor Stephen Miller, and Secretary of Homeland Security Kirstjen Nielsen created a policy which separated children from parents upon their legal or unlawful entry (which is a misdemeanor under federal law) into our nation, across the southern border. This is a topic of concern not only to our country, but also our city of Alexandria, specifically.

Alexandria Mayor Allison Silberberg issued a statement on June 19th that said, “Like our nation’s former First Ladies and many elected leaders on both sides of the aisle, I believe this policy is immoral, inhumane and unacceptable, causing trauma to children and their families, and I urge the administration to change the policy immediately. We as a nation can and should be far better than this.” She confirmed that the Northern Virginia Juvenile Detention Center did not and is not currently housing children who have been separated from their families at the border. Silberberg also urged the board of the detention center not to accept any separated children into the facility or to renew their contract with the federal government in August — advice the board agreed with and voted to uphold.

Congressman Don Beyer also issued a statement on the topic: “I commend the Alexandria Democrats for this resolution condemning the cruel, Trumpian intolerance and xenophobia masquerading as immigration policy. Let us all continue to work together to bolster the Party of enlightenment and compassion this November — the Democratic Party.”

U.S. Senators Mark Warner and Tim Kaine (both D-VA) introduced legislation that promotes family unity by prohibiting U.S. Department of Homeland Security officials from separating children from their parents. Senators Warner and Kaine also joined 38 of their Senate colleagues in a letter urging the Trump administration to stop further traumatizing children and end Trump’s inhumane policy of separating innocent boys and girls from families who cross the southwest border seeking asylum in the United States. “The Trump administration’s policies trample on American values by tearing families apart and demonizing people seeking refuge,” Sen. Kaine said. “This bill is an effort to protect kids from unnecessary harm by keeping families together and putting in place safeguards for children who have been separated from their parents.”

Democratic candidate for Alexandria City Council, Mo Seifeldein, added: “The Trump policies toward children and those seeking legal entry into the United States is not aligned with universally recognized human rights by the United Nations. I came into this country as a minor, I can’t imagine the psychological impact on the families harmed by these cruel policies. I join the ADC in strongly condemning the practice of separating children from their families and call for a meaningful actions to remedy this inhumane policy.”

The Alexandria Democratic Committee demands that families and children be released from the government compounds and be given proper care, treatment and appropriate living conditions, including schooling for the children in need of it. We urge the City of Alexandria to work with the state and/or neighboring jurisdictions and any credible non-governmental organizations to create a task force to identify as many appropriate homes as possible to take in, care for and sponsor families damaged by this experience as soon as legally possible and feasible.

Further, we condemn this action as a violation of human rights, and this cruel and inhumane policy of White House Policy Advisor Stephen Miller, Attorney General Jeff Sessions, Secretary of Homeland Security, Kirstjen Nielsen, and, most importantly, President Donald J. Trump, who we urge citizens to hold accountable in the midterms and in 2020. We will continue to hold this administration accountable until all the children are reunited with their parents and this policy is reversed; children should not be used to make political points and immigrants should not be scapegoated for seeking asylum in the United States, a nation of immigrants; we welcome immigrants into our community, and we are a better city, state and nation for the contributions of immigrants.