AFSCME Stands with Immigrant Families

Photo credit: Rena Schild /
Photo credit: Rena Schild /

Cruelty to children – to any human being - is never acceptable. Images of children, separated from their families and caged up like animals, have shocked and horrified America and AFSCME members in recent weeks.

Whatever your stance on immigration reform, most of us can agree that ripping children from their parents and locking them up in unfamiliar facilities that look like prisons is neither productive nor humane policy. And yet, that’s exactly what’s happened under the Trump administration’s “zero tolerance” immigration enforcement policy. Just one case breaks our hearts; and there are thousands of them.

Every child deserves the safety, security and comfort of being with their family, especially in times of emotional strife and uncertainty.

Even though the President signed an executive order last week, which he said would end the inhumane practice, today thousands of migrant children remain separated from their parents, waiting to be reunited.

The children are still isolated, caged, and being mistreated. Trump claims that his executive order will “take care of the problem.” The truth is, the document simply outlines a new, but equally atrocious, plan: locking children and parents up together – indefinitely. Trump has even threatened to suspend due process for migrant families.

Immigrants are people. Immigrants are AFSCME members. They are our neighbors, friends and co-workers. They contribute labor that helps produce America’s wealth. Immigrants enrich our communities and make invaluable contributions to our economy and our culture.

The lives of thousands of innocent children are currently in the hands of greedy private corporations who care more about turning a profit than they care about the value of a human life. Those groups include private prison operators GEO Group and CoreCivic Inc. – the same incarceration-for-profit company that wants to reopen the shuttered private prison in Appleton, Minn., which AFSCME correctional members have been fighting for years to prevent.

The Trump administration has plans to contract out even more privately-owned, for-profit immigrant detention centers in the coming months, and shares in those same private prison corporations are already skyrocketing.

AFSCME has historically fought to end human incarceration for profit, and the crisis at the border is no exception to our position on that issue.

Being in a union is about fighting for freedom and standing up for better lives for our families and our communities. From fighting for child labor laws to marching with Dr. Martin Luther King in Memphis, AFSCME has a long history of standing up for what’s right and just – for everyone. We’ve been fighting for human rights and civil rights ever since we formed in 1932, and we’re not going to stop now.

Want to stand up for migrant families? Join us at the Free Our Future! March and Day of Action on Saturday.