Encinitas Mayor Catherine Blakespear has joined the long list of politicians and citizens denouncing the federal border-enforcement policy of separating children from their parents at the United States’ border with Mexico.
Blakespear sent a letter to the U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions on June 19, writing in the capacity of mayor, American citizen and parent of two young children. She urged Sessions to end the policy that she said was marked by “boundless cruelty” and stated, “The United States has always led from a position of moral strength, but we cannot do so while we take actions that are so obviously immoral.”
The Trump administration has disclosed that at least 1,995 children were separated from their parents at our nation’s southern border in April and May — under the assertion that children are to be taken from adults who are being prosecuted as criminals. The illegal crossing of the border constitutes a crime, according to Kirstjen Nielsen, the secretary of homeland security.
As audio and images of children crying inconsolably have circulated, public and political outrage has increased. Some Americans have defended the federal “zero-tolerance policy,” with a Quinnipiac University poll finding 27 percent in favor of it.
When asked what motivated her to write the letter, Blakespear said, “While I am powerless to affect federal policy, I can use the tools available to me which include the bully pulpit. Writing to memorialize my strong opposition adds to the groundswell of voices nationwide that find this family separation policy reprehensible.”
Since this article was originally posted online, President Donald J. Trump signed an executive order ending the border policy of separating families. Families will be detained together, and officials will continue prosecuting people who cross the border illegally. As of June 20, it remains unclear whether the administration will seek legal or legislative action to be able to detain children for longer than the currently allowable 20 days.