WASHINGTON—Statement of American Federation of Teachers President Randi Weingarten following the Trump administration’s announcement of a new rule that would amend the Flores Settlement Agreement—an agreement that protects migrant children seeking asylum in the United States and ensures that they are released from immigration detention as quickly as possible:
“In another cruel move, the Trump administration has chosen to once again target immigrant children, making it easier to hold them in detention indefinitely and under uninhabitable conditions. The White House’s goal is quite clear: to prevent anyone from majority nonwhite countries from seeking refuge and asylum in the United States. As a nation of many descendants of immigrant families who sought safety, opportunity and hope at our borders, what the Trump administration is doing is completely antithetical to the goals and ideals on which our country was built.
“Children need protection. Yet immigrant children on U.S. soil are being denied the adequate shelter, food, showers, education and safety that the Flores agreement legally required the government to provide them. In fact, just last week, with advance notice and seeking all the permissions we needed, we attempted to visit the border processing center in McAllen, Texas, to bear witness to the conditions there. Not only were we denied entrance, Customs and Border Protection officials threatened our group of educators, nurses and clergy with arrest as we prayed outside. What are they trying to hide?
“Regardless of one’s stance in the immigration debate, children should not be used as pawns. I urge Congress to come together to work with the countries where immigrants are fleeing and help find solutions to protect a generation of kids looking to this country for a better life, opportunity and an education. But most importantly I urge our government to care about children, no matter where they are from or the color of their skin.”