ACTION ALERT: Close Trump’s Concentration Camps

July 3rd, 2019 - by Win Without War & Julia Ainsley / NBC News

Welcome to America: Prison-like holding facilities confine thousands of migrant children torn from their parents (Photo: Rolling Stone)

ACTION ALERT: Close Trump’s Concentration Camps

 (July 2, 2019) — The US government’s inhumane treatment of families seeking refuge continues to escalate at the US southern border. Concentration camps coming to Pentagon property. Military servicemembers stationed at the border. Criminalizing kids and locking them in cages. Private contractors profiting off of human suffering: The border has become a site for the tactics and infrastructure of war. 

And while Congress has known about conditions at the border for some time now, it has fallen short of holding the Trump administration accountable for its inhumane immigration policies.

And it’s not just on the administration anymore — we have all failed migrant families.

That’s why this week, we have to do everything we can to push Congress to act together and end the horrors that migrant families continue to face.

Every kid that dies or is sick at the border is on all of us. 

Because so far, we haven’t changed the fact that families fleeing violence and poverty are met with tear gas, guns, and cages at our borders. [1] We haven’t changed the fact that children are locked in overcrowded cages, hungry, scared, with no soap, clothes, or toys. We haven’t changed the fact that that kids are sick and dying alone in government custody, or with parents as they try to swim across the Rio Grande.

Families Torn Apart: America’s Deadly Immigration Policy (BRAVE NEW FILMS)

We have to change this reality — and it’s going to take all of us, doing everything we can. 

Members of Congress need to hear from us NOW that activists across the country will not stand for border militarization any longer. Congress must close the camps, block funds for family detention and deportation, visit the border, and reunite families NOW. 

Sign now to demand Rep. Lee and Sens. Feinstein and Harris close the camps!

Thank you for working for peace,

Mariam, Tara, Kate, and the Win Without War team

PS: We’re mobilizing across the country today to demand Congress #ClosetheCamps. Find a protest near you!

The “toxic stress” of family separation (Photo: Rolling Stone)

We Must Not Forget Our Country’s Shameful History

Bruna Hourid / United We Dream

WASHINGTON, DC (June 21, 2019) — Last week, news surfaced that Fort Sill in Oklahoma, where 700 people of Japanese descent were detained and one murdered by an official during World War II, will serve as the site for a new detention center for children.

This week, a video from Representative Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez’s (D, NY-14) sparked wide discussions about the use of these camps by Trump administration and the deportation force of ICE and CBP.

These organizations – United We Dream, Asian Americans Advancing Justice | AAJC, and Bend the Arc: Jewish Action, and the NACA Inspired Schools Network – who have known human rights abuses against their communities, released the following statement:

Cristina Jimenez, Executive Director and Co-Founder of United We Dream, said:

People are dying at the hands of the deportation force; Johana, Simratpal, Abel, Augustina, Roxsana, Huy Chi, Felipe, Jakelin, Claudia and many others. We have said it before and we will say it again – we must end the inhumane practice of incarceration and deportations.

We are living through a moral crisis and we must remember the suffering and deaths of millions of people throughout history as we demand Congress to defund the deportation force and once in for all close down all concentration camps.

Children must be reunited with their families immediately and every individual who arrives at our border seeking asylum deserves a fair chance at applying for this protected status. The solution is humanity, not more camps.”

John C. Yang, President and Executive Director of Asian Americans Advancing Justice | AAJC, said:

This administration has once again chosen to ignore history with their plans to imprison asylum-seeking children in a former Japanese American incarceration site. For the Japanese American community, the trauma from incarceration has lasted for generations. Putting children and families seeking asylum in a prison is morally reprehensible and should not continue in any administration. We urge Congress to reject funding for family incarceration and instead reunite families, treating them humanely and with dignity.

Stosh Cotler, CEO of Bend the Arc: Jewish Action said:

Whether we call them concentration camps, mass detention centers, or cages for children, they are a moral abomination.

The real question is not what we call these mass detention sites growing all over the country, the question is: what is every government official and citizen doing to stop this evil? Our government is scapegoating, demonizing, and terrorizing immigrants.

These policies echo the worst of Jewish history and the worst of American history. Jewish Americans overwhelmingly reject the hateful, anti-immigrant policies being perpetrated by the very people pretending to be offended on our behalf. We demand that Congress take immediate action to stop this ongoing campaign of cruelty towards immigrants by defunding the agencies that carry it out.”

Anpao Duta, Standing Rock Leader and Executive Director of NACA Inspired School Network:

“For indigenous communities in this country, military bases like Fort Sill in Oklahoma are reminders of the violent history of the United States. Across the country, many of our relatives and ancestors, including Geronimo, have experienced displacement, assimilation, disparities and expressions of racism, xenophobia and dehumanization in these very places.

Now, we’re seeing it happen again and we must stand together to say no more. People do not belong in camps.”


United We Dream has published a report that details the truth about the devastating impact of ICE, CBP and this Administration’s horrific policies as well as an Abuse Tracker that collects stories to expose their cruelty.

United We Dream is the largest immigrant youth-led organization in the nation, a powerful network made up of over 400,000 members and 48 affiliate organizations across 26 states. UWD’s vision is to build a multi-racial, multi-ethnic movement of young people who organize and advocate at the local and national levels for the dignity and justice of immigrants and communities of color in the United States. You can find more about UWD online at

Asian Americans Advancing Justice| AAJC has a mission to advance the civil and human rights for Asian Americans and to build and promote a fair and equitable society for all.

Bend the Arc: Jewish Actionis uniting a movement of tens of thousands of progressive Jews across the country who are fighting for justice and equality for all. We are the only national Jewish organization focused exclusively on social change in the US

NISNsupports leaders in Indigenous communities to develop a network of schools providing rigorous academic curriculum aimed at college preparation while also promoting Indigenous culture, identity, and community investment.

From left, Felipe Gomez Alonzo, Carlos Gregorio Hernandez Vasquez and Jakelin Caal Maquin are three of the children who have died in the custody of US Customs and Border Protection.

Trump Admin Weighed Targeting Migrant Families, Speeding Up Deportation of Children

A draft plan obtained by NBC News also shows officials wanted to specifically target parents in migrant families for increased prosecutions.

Julia Ainsley / NBC News

WASHINGTON — Trump administration officials weighed speeding up the deportation of migrant children by denying them their legal right to asylum hearings after separating them from their parents, according to comments on a late 2017 draft of what became the administration’s family separation policy obtained by NBC News.

The draft also shows officials wanted to specifically target parents in migrant families for increased prosecutions, contradicting the administration’s previous statements. In June, Department of Homeland Security Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen said the administration did “not have a policy of separating families at the border” but was simply enforcing existing law.

The authors noted that the “increase in prosecutions would be reported by the media and it would have a substantial deterrent effect.”

Click here to read the draft and comments

The draft plan was provided to NBC News by the office of Sen. Jeff Merkley, D.-Ore., which says it was leaked by a government whistleblower.

In the draft memo, called “Policy Options to Respond to Border Surge of Illegal Immigration” and dated Dec. 16, 2017, officials from the Departments of Justice and Homeland Security lay out a blueprint of options, some of which were later implemented and others that have not yet been put into effect.

At the time, the number of undocumented immigrants seeking to cross the southern border was near historic monthly lows: 40,519 in December 2017, compared to 58,379 the same month the year prior.

The document was circulated between high level officials at DHS and the Justice Department, at least one of whom was instrumental in writing the first iteration of the administration’s travel ban.

The plan, and the comments written in the margins, provide a window into the policy discussion thinking at the time, how far officials were willing to go to deter families seeking asylum and what they may still be considering.

In one comment, the Justice Department official suggests that Customs and Border Protection could see that children who have been separated from their parents would be denied an asylum hearing before an immigration judge, which is typically awarded to children who arrive at the border alone.

Instead, the entire family would be given an order of “expedited removal” and then separated, placing the child in the care of HHS in US Marshall’s custody while both await deportation.

“If CBP issues an ER [expedited removal] for the entire family unit, places the parents in the custody of the US Marshal, and then places the minors with HHS, it would seem that DHS could work with HHS to actually repatriate [deport] the minors then,” the official wrote.

“It would take coordination with the home countries, of course, but that doesn’t seem like too much of a cost to pay compared to the status quo.”

It is unclear from the official’s comment whether the government planned on reunifying children with their parents before they were deported.

“It appears that they wanted to have it both ways — to separate children from their parents but deny them the full protections generally awarded to unaccompanied children,” said Lee Gelernt, a lawyer for the American Civil Liberties Union who led the class action suit on behalf of migrant parents who had been separated from their children.

A DHS official told NBC News on the condition of anonymity because the department does not comment on pre-decisional documents that the draft’s authors’ intent was to enable agencies to reunify families after they were separated for prosecution.

But the draft and comments do not mention plans to reunify.

The Inspector General for Health and Human Services released a report on Thursday that said “thousands” of children were separated under the Trump administration during an influx in separations that began in the summer of 2017, before the zero tolerance policy. Whether those children were reunited with their parents is unknown, the report said.

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