"MNAPABA joins with other Minnesota affinity bar associations and NAPABA in opposing the separation of families crossing our borders. Please see our statement below. MNAPABA joins the call to quickly reunite families."
2017-18 MNAPABA President
Statement Regarding Zero-Tolerance
The Minnesota Hispanic Bar Association (MHBA), Minnesota Lavender Bar Association (MLBA), Minnesota Association of Black Lawyers (MABL), Minnesota Asian Pacific American Bar Association (MNAPABA), Minnesota American Indian Bar Association (MAIBA), Minnesota Mother Attorneys Association (MMAA), and Somali American Bar Association (SABA) jointly issue the following statement in response to recent reports about the Trump Administration’s zero-tolerance prosecution policy that has triggered a spike in family separations at the U.S.-Mexico border.
The Trump Administration’s policy to prosecute every adult who crosses the U.S. – Mexico border illegally or even in connection with lawfully seeking asylum, and, in addition, to separate those adults from their minor children, is in stark contrast to our country’s bedrock principles of treating all individuals with equality and dignity. No existing law forces federal prosecutors to prioritize the immigration violations of families seeking asylum. At least 2,700 families have been separated at the border since October 2017. Organizations offering aid at the border report that parents separated from their children are not told where their children will go. Recent reports indicate that the Department of Homeland Security is operating three “tender care” facilities for infants and toddlers who are separated at the border from their families. The American Psychological Association warns that separating children from their parents causes serious harm to children already suffering trauma from fleeing their countries of origin. The psychological toll inflicted on these children is inhumane and our government’s policy of separating minor children is reprehensible. Although the Trump Administration has now indicated it will end this policy of separating minor children from their parents, there is no plan in place to quickly reunite currently-detained children with their parents.
Putting an end to this policy decision does not address reunification of families that have been separated nor does it address the awful conditions parents and the children are being held in. We call on lawmakers to take swift action in passing legislation to ensure such a policy cannot be reinstated and that children who have been separated from their families have a safe and expedient procedure for being reunited with their parents. To be clear, we can protect our borders while still being humane and compassionate to those in need.
We also encourage our members to continue our tradition of service by offering pro bono legal counsel to families and unaccompanied minors and supporting on-the-ground organizations providing humanitarian relief.