PATERSON, NJ- On Tuesday, June 26th the Passaic County Board of Chosen Freeholders unanimously passed a Resolution calling for an end to the unnecessary separation of migrant children and parents and incarceration of families awaiting immigration determination, supporting Senate Bill S.3036, the “Keep Families Together Act,” and urging the Trump Administration to enact a more humane and cost effective approach to ensure border security. 

“The policies the Trump Administration has carried out on our borders constitute wanton cruelty towards vulnerable people seeking asylum, and cause severe trauma for parents and their children,” said Freeholder John W. Bartlett, Esq., who authored the Resolution. “This Board condemns the Administration’s misguided cruelty towards vulnerable people, and calls on the Administration to immediately reunite the more than 2000 children and parents who have been separated simply for seeking asylum in the United States as the law allows.” 

Among other measures, the Freeholders’ Resolution endorses S.3036, the “Keep Families Together Act,” Congressional legislation that would prohibit the unnecessary separation of a child from his or her parent or legal guardian at or near a U.S. port of entry, and calls for the immediate reunification of the 2,000+ children separated from their families since the Trump Administration adopted its “zero-tolerance” immigration policy in April 2017. 

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“Separating children from their parents does not enhance border security in any way, and the construction of these camps for migrant children and families will create an exorbitant and unnecessary cost for taxpayers,” said Freeholder Director Sandi Lazzara. “There are less cruel and less costly alternatives which could and should be implemented.” 

Even in the absence of family separation, the construction of new detention facilities will create an unnecessary expense to the American people, when more cost effective solutions have been implemented previously. In 2017, President Trump discontinued the ICE Family Case Management Program, which allowed migrant families to live together while contributing to local communities as they awaited court proceedings. The Resolution advocates restoration of that program as more economical and humane than the Trump Administration’s current proposal to incarcerate all families entering the United States to seek asylum. 

Representing a county where about one quarter of residents are immigrants, the Passaic County Freeholders have previously passed resolutions to condemn President Donald J. Trump’s Muslim Travel Ban, former Governor Chris Christie’s attempts to ban Syrian refugee children, and established the state’s first county-level Fair and Welcoming Policy towards immigrants.