TRENTON, NJ – Assemblyman Andrew Zwicker (D-Somerset/Mercer/Middlesex/Hunterdon) released the following statement Tuesday regarding the Trump administration’s forced separation policy:
“The reports, photos and videos of families being forcibly separated by our own federal government are horrifying beyond description. Imagine the terror and confusion these children are experiencing as they're torn out of their parents' arms, locked in cages indefinitely with strangers, deprived of any comfort, and treated like hardened criminals. As a parent, of course, I'm appalled. But one doesn't need to have children to understand that our government's conduct is cruelly abusive and wrong in the extreme.
“The Trump administration justifies this inhumane "zero tolerance" policy on the grounds that it will "deter" people from attempting to cross our borders without permission. But it hasn't. In fact, Homeland Security's own data shows a 5% uptick in attempted border crossings since the policy went into effect https://www.cnn.com/2018/06/18/politics/family-separation-deterrence-dhs/index.html . Now, faced with this undeniable failure of its policy objective, Trump officials have pivoted and claim simply that they're enforcing the law.
“But of course, this policy isn't required by any law or statute; it was the invention of Trump's Attorney General, Jeff Sessions, and can be reversed and rectified immediately - if they choose. But they choose instead to continue to separate children from their parents, despite mounting outrage around the country and around the world.
“This can't be who we are -- as a country, as a democracy, as a society.
“Many of us feel helpless in the face of this shocking departure by the Trump administration from our country's ideals and principles. But we can and must speak up, march, donate, and act where we can.
“To that end, I applaud Governor Phil Murphy for today issuing an executive order forbidding New Jersey state resources from being used to support or facilitate the odious Trump administration policies that separate children from parents. I call on our representatives in Congress to stop dithering and unite to put a stop to the abuses happening under color of law at our borders. Congress must act. The policy must end, families must be reunited, and we must de