Miller and 20 attorneys general demand Sessions end family separation

Iowa Attorney General Tom Miller and 20 other attorneys general said they are calling on U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions and Homeland Security Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen to end "the cruel and illegal actions against children and families lawfully seeking asylum in the United States as they seek protection from domestic, sexual and gang violence."

Miller said in recent weeks, the federal government has separated thousands of asylum-seeking children from their parents and reclassified the protective status of international domestic violence survivors. The attorneys general ask Sessions to immediately stop putting children in danger by separating them from their families.

“Put simply, the deliberate separation of children and their parents who seek lawful asylum in America is wrong,” the letter reads. “This practice is contrary to American values and must be stopped.”

Miller and the coalition of attorneys general argues that in addition to being cruel and dangerous, these policies are, at their core violations of international, federal and state law, as well as of judicial precedent. Almost universally, those laws and precedents state that children’s best interests are in remaining with their parents, absent a rigorous judicial inquiry. The Department of Justice is ignoring those best interests, putting politics ahead of children.

The letter also reads: “These practices directly interfere with the efforts of our offices and other law enforcement officials — locally, nationally, and internationally — to prevent and prosecute crime. In most states, attorneys general are responsible for enforcing laws that include human trafficking, drug trafficking, and gang violence offenses. As you are keenly aware, these issues are rarely local in context, rather they require the efforts and collaboration of law enforcement officials across both state and international borders to prevent the widespread and syndicated perpetration of these crimes.”

Attorney General Miller is joined by the attorneys general of New Mexico, California, Connecticut, Delaware, District of Columbia, Hawaii, Illinois, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, Minnesota, New Jersey, New York, North Carolina, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, Vermont, Virginia and Washington in demanding an immediate change in policy.

Read the full letter here: 

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