WASHINGTON, DC -- The President of the Hispanic National Bar Association, Erica V. Mason, issued the following statement in response to increasingly disturbing reports about the Trump Administration’s new zero-tolerance prosecution policy that has triggered a spike in family separations at the U.S.-Mexico border.
“Between April 19 and May 31 of this year, the Department of Homeland Security admitted that it had forcibly separated nearly 2,000 children from their parents–a rate of approximately 46 children a day over that six-week period,” said HNBA President Mason. “Make no mistake: the current humanitarian crisis occurring at the U.S.-Mexico border is a manufactured one and the Administration’s sudden and drastic changes to immigration enforcement policy, including the Department of Justice’s ‘zero-tolerance’ policy ordering federal prosecutors to pursue criminal immigration charges for all unauthorized immigrants, even those pursuing asylum claims, are inexcusable and cannot continue.
“This Administration would like to assert that its policy changes are not responsible for this cruel phenomenon, and that existing federal law is to blame for the uptick in family separations at the border. That is patently false. No existing law forces federal prosecutors to prioritize the immigration violations of families seeking asylum. The President can end this crisis with one phone call.
“Our nation has always served as a beacon of hope for those fleeing violence or persecution. We cannot now, or ever, become the evil that we seek to rescue others from. The HNBA calls upon its members to take action by calling on their Congressional representatives to sponsor bipartisan legislation that protects migrant children and families. We can protect our borders while still being humane and compassionate to those in need. We also encourage our members to continue our tradition of service by offering pro bono legal counsel to families and unaccompanied minors, supporting on-the-ground organizations providing humanitarian relief, and by spreading awareness about this clear and deliberate atrocity. It is up to us and our allies to meet our federal government’s cruel actions with love and justice.”
About the Hispanic National Bar Association
The Hispanic National Bar Association is an incorporated, not-for-profit, national membership association that represents the interests of Hispanic attorneys, judges, law professors, legal assistants, law students, and legal professionals in the United States and its territories. Since 1972, the HNBA has acted as a force for positive change within the legal profession by creating opportunities for Hispanic lawyers and by helping generations of lawyers to succeed. For more information, please visit www.hnba.com.