Resolution To End the Prosecution of Migrants Seeking Asylum

On June 22, 2018, Mike Siegel petitioned the Texas Democratic Party to pass this resolution condemning the immoral criminalization of migrants at the southern border, asking the 7000 delegates of the TDP to support an emergency resolution to protect asylum seekers immediately.

Our team identified dozens of volunteers who helped us gather 2,800 signatures in 12 hours to bring our resolution to the convention floor. Thanks to support from delegates from Bastrop, Katy, and Austin, from organizations like the Texas AFL-CIO and Our Revolution, and even from Rep. Beto O’Rourke, our resolution was adopted by the Texas Democratic Party.

Here’s the full text of the resolution:

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WHEREAS on April 6, 2018, Attorney General Sessions announced a “zero-tolerance” policy that called for criminal prosecution of all migrants suspected of unlawful entry with the goal of deterring immigration from the south; and

WHEREAS half of all federal criminal court cases across the country are for simple immigration offenses resulting in the mass incarceration of immigrants that disproportionately impacts Latinos and results in no measurable deterrent on unauthorized migration;

WHEREAS under federal and international law, the United States government must accept any migrant who qualifies for asylum due to persecution in their home country; may not return persecuted individuals to their country of origin; and may not commit torture against anyone; and

WHEREAS as a result of the Trump Administration’s policy, migrants crossing the southern border to seek asylum are subject to criminal prosecution, even if they are traveling with children, and even if criminal prosecution results in the separation of children from their parents; and

WHEREAS as a result of the Trump Administration’s policy, 1,995 children were taken from their parents between April 19 and May 31, 2018, and hundreds more have been taken since; and

WHEREAS the American Academy of Pediatrics stated that separating children from their parents causes “irreparable harm” to children; disrupts a child’s brain functions; causes toxic stress; and can lead to lifelong health consequences; and

WHEREAS published photography and audio recordings demonstrate the deplorable conditions in which some separated migrant children are held; where children are confined behind chain-link fences, deprived of love and emotional support, and allowed to scream and cry without response; and

WHEREAS the Department of Homeland Security refuses to allow journalists or human rights observers into detention centers where children and infants under ten years of age are held, and therefore photography and audio recordings of those centers are unavailable; and

WHEREAS private for-profit prison companies make substantial financial contributions to the President and members of Congress, and in return benefit from policies that increase the detention and incarceration of immigrants; and

WHEREAS the Trump Administration’s policy violates our nation’s obligations to asylum-seekers and results in the torture of children and parents; and

WHEREAS the Trump Administration’s policy constitutes a crime against humanity and a stain on the democratic values of this country; and

WHEREAS the President’s Executive Order of June 20, 2018, “Affording Congress an Opportunity to Address Family Separation,” does not end family separation; does not provide for the reunification of children wrongfully separated from parents; encourages the continued incarceration of children in deplorable conditions; and does not resolve the Administration’s unlawful decision to criminally charge and incarcerate asylum seekers;

THEREFORE BE IT RESOLVED that the Texas Democratic Party demands that the Trump Administration immediately cease the criminal prosecution of migrants to the United States, and the resulting separation of children from their parents; that the Administration dismiss any criminal charges against those seeking asylum; and that the Administration take immediate steps to reunite separated children with their parents outside of detention centers;

AND BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED that the Texas Democratic Party opposes the militarization of our southern border, and calls on the Texas Governor to withdraw the National Guard from the border area;

AND BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED that the Texas Democratic Party opposes the detention or incarceration of immigrants in private for-profit prisons and detention centers, and calls on the Texas and United States governments to end their reliance on these entities;

AND BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED that the Texas Democratic Party calls on Congress to immediately initiate reforms to federal immigration law to ensure that migrants seeking asylum are not subject to criminal prosecution.