Statement on Judge Gee's order to release detained children by July 17 due to Covid-19
Tsuru for Solidarity applauds the federal court ruling by U.S. District Court Judge Dolly Gee finding that the Trump administration has failed to protect children and their families from the COVID-19 pandemic in immigration detention, and ordering the release of all children from ICE custody by July 17. As Judge Gee stated in her order, the COVID-19 epidemic is “on fire” in these detention centers, and “there is no more time for half measures.” We are gravely concerned, however, that ICE will use this order as an excuse to separate more families by releasing the children but keeping their parents detained.
As Japanese American survivors and descendants of U.S. concentration camps, we know that imprisoning parents and children causes deep harm and separating children from parents will be an added devastating trauma that is passed on from generation to generation. We stand in solidarity with the families in ICE detention, and demand that our government close down the family detention centers altogether rather than use this as yet another excuse for indefinite detention and family separation. And we remind the governors of the states where these family detention centers are located—particularly Governor Wolf of Pennsylvania, who has the power to shut down the Berks family detention center but has failed to exercise that power—that they have a moral obligation to act in the face of ICE’s ongoing cruelty and inhumanity.