Non-partisan group of more than 15,000 to deliver letters to Members of Congress in New Jersey demanding family reunifications
WESTFIELD, NJ — Lawyer Moms of America, a non-partisan organization of more than 15,000 lawyer moms and allies across the United States, will deliver letters to Senators and Representatives demanding an end to family detention and the reunification of children who were taken from their parents in a new letter. Between May 5 and June 9, 2018, 2,342 children were taken from 2,206 parents at the US-Mexico border.
In New Jersey’s 7th Congressional District, lawyer moms and their allies will gather for a peaceful rally in front of Congressman Leonard Lance’s Office in Westfield. At noon, a lawyer mom will deliver the letter to Rep. Lance’s office. His office reports that he is unavailable to meet with the Lawyer Moms.
Similar events will take place at the offices of U.S. Reps. Frank LoBiondo in May’s Landing (2nd), Tom MacArthur in Marlton and Tom’s River (3rd), Chris Smith in Freehold (4th), and Rodney Frelinghuysen in Morristown (11th).
Scheduled speakers in Westfield include members of the clergy, immigrants sharing their personal stories, and leaders of various grassroots organizations.
“As a mother of two small children, I cannot imagine the pain of not knowing where my babies were or if they were safe,” said Rielly Karsh, a co-organizer of the New Jersey Day of Action.
Marci Kleinberg Bandelli, a co-founder of the grassroots organization Westfield 20/20, announced that her organization will be supporting Friday’s rally because, “We need to join our voices together to speak for the thousands of children that cannot. As a therapist, I know the damage that is being done every day that these children remain separated from their parents.”
Uyen "Winn" Khuong, the executive director of Action Together New Jersey, said her organization is joining Lawyer Moms to support its effort. Khuong migrated from Vietnam as an 8-year old and knows first hand the trauma of being separated from her family.
"What was the most traumatic thing for me and my sisters? The one night when our father was taken from us and jailed by the local police," Khuong said. "Of all the trauma, the separation from the only safe harbor we knew is still seared into me. I am an immigrant and I abhor the immoral practice that is separating children from their parents. This will leave lasting trauma and scars and it needs to be stopped."
“While President Trump’s executive order may have ended the cruel policy of forcibly removing children from their parents, it does nothing to return these children to their parents,” said Lisa Mandelblatt, a former Congressional Candidate and co-organizer of New Jersey’s Day of Action. “These families are coming to the United States seeking asylum. They are entitled to due process despite what President Trump says in his Tweets.”
The Trump Administration announced its zero tolerance policy in April, directing the Department of Justice to detain and prosecute all cases of alleged improper entry. This policy led to the separation of migrant children from their detained parents under a 2014 federal court decision which prohibits migrant children from being detained in adult facilities. Over just a few weeks, thousands of children were forcibly separated from their parents resulting chaos and national outcry. President Trump then signed an executive order purporting to end family separation. However, that same order, called for the Department of Justice to continue prosecuting all first-time, misdemeanor offenses of improper entry and to hold migrant children in detention with their parents. Unless the governing court order is modified, the Executive Order either requires the Department of Justice to violate federal law by holding children in adult detention indefinitely or continue separating then from their parents after 20 days. Either result is unprecedented in U.S. policy and untenable for affected families.
“As a lawyer, a mother, and an American, I will not stand silent in the face of this gross injustice,” said Tovah Kopan, a lawyer from New Jersey and another co-founder of Lawyer Moms of America. “Each of us would do anything to keep our children safe and each of us swore an oath to defend the Constitution. These families don’t even know where their children are, let alone whether or not they’re safe. We must reunite them, and ensure that no child comes to the land of the free and is immediately put in a cage. Enough is enough.”
To join Lawyer Moms of America - NJ and its allies on June 29th and demand reunification of children with their parents and an end to the prospect of indefinite family detention join them at 425 North Avenue W, in Westfield, NJ. And ask to join the Facebook Group for more information about what’s happening in New Jersey and across the country. To sign the Congressional letter, visit the website at https://lawyermomsofamerica.com/.
About Lawyer Moms of America
Lawyer Moms of America is a non-partisan group of more than 15,000 lawyer moms and supporters across the U.S. who have banded together to stand up for the rights of migrant families. Our membership spans all political parties and affiliations and all 50 states.
About Action Together New Jersey
ATNJ, a non-profit, progressive group, is the largest grassroots organization in New Jersey with chapters in every county. ATNJ seeks to promote equality and progressive ideals and to secure a more inclusive, fair and equitable future for New Jersey and the nation. For more information, visit www.ATNJ.org
About Westfield 20/20
Westfield 20/20 is an all-volunteer grassroots community of like-minded people who share news, information, and strategies related to our mission of ensuring that our local, state, and federal legislators are held accountable and represent our values. While these values “lean left,” we are not affiliated with any established political party, and our group includes members from a range of political allegiances.
New Jersey Press Contacts
Rielly Karsh, Esq.
Lisa Mandelblatt, Esq.
National Press Contacts
Tovah Kopan, New Jersey
Erin Albanese, Washington State