Councilmember González’s Resolution ‘Affirming the Human Right to Family Unity’ Passes Council Unanimously

SEATTLE – The Seattle City Council voted unanimously in favor of Resolution 31822, Affirming the Human Right to Family Unity, today during a meeting of the Full Council.

The Resolution, sponsored by Councilmember M. Lorena González  (Pos. 9 – Citywide), who chairs the Council’s Gender Equity, Safe Communities, New Americans and Education Committee, states clear opposition to the Trump Administration’s practices separating children as young as eight months old from their parents and/or detaining migrants seeking asylum at the U.S.-Mexico border.

“This is part of a pattern by the Trump Administration to disregard the rule of law in order to target immigrant communities and antagonize migrant communities. The City reaffirms its commitment to keeping families together, and stands in solidarity with immigrant communities, including a significant population of Central American immigrants who call Seattle home. We have an obligation as civic leaders in our community to call out unjust, immoral actions, and it is immoral and inhumane to separate children from their parents or guardians,” said Councilmember González.

In addition, González reaffirmed the City’s commitment to the immigrant community (Sec. 4), and invited the community to signal support for keeping families together by participating in a National Day of Action (Sec. 7) and supporting immigrant rights organizations such as One America, Northwest Immigrant Rights Project (NWIRP), Colectiva Legal del Pueblo, Kids in Need of Defense, RAICES, and others working on behalf of families seeking asylum.

Selected highlights from the Resolution:

(T)he Trump Administration’s lack of family reunification plans for over 2,300 children and their parents or guardians and ongoing detention camps at the U.S.-Mexico border (is) in violation of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and the applicable international human rights framework.

WHEREAS, The City of Seattle (“City”) condemns separation of migrant children from their families at the U.S.-Mexico border as an egregious violation of human rights and an immoral act of violence and trauma targeting migrants and immigrants seeking safety and asylum; and

WHEREAS, the separation of children and their families is a continuation of historical practices by the U.S. government, both federal and local, that primarily harmed children of color through forced migration and enslavement, detainment, internment, and boarding schools that erased language and culture; and

WHEREAS, research has proven the psychological impact of separation of children from their parents and families has led to irreversible, intergenerational trauma that manifests itself through violence, addiction, and other negative behaviors that harm both the children and their loved ones; and

WHEREAS, the Trump Administration has targeted migrant and immigrant families through policies and proposals including Executive Order 13767: Border Security and Immigration Enforcement Improvements; Executive Order 13768: Enhancing Public Safety in the Interior of the United States; the proposed federal 2017 RAISE Act seeking to limit legal immigration; the proposed “border wall” between the U.S. and Mexico; and threats to withhold federal resources from “sanctuary cities”; and

WHEREAS, the Trump Administration’s “zero tolerance” policy of prosecuting border crossings along the U.S.-Mexico border has separated thousands of children from as young as eight months old to the age of 18 from their parents and guardians, creating conditions that are a departure from international human rights and migrant rights, leading to worldwide outcry; and

WHEREAS, the State of Washington’s Attorney General, joined by California, Illinois, Iowa, Massachusetts, Maryland, Minnesota, New Jersey, New Mexico, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, Virginia, and the District of Columbia, announced a lawsuit against the Trump Administration on June 21, 2018[PWS1] , challenging its “zero tolerance” policy that resulted in the separation of immigrant children from their parents during border crossings; and

WHEREAS, the City adopted Resolution 31730 affirming Seattle’s commitment as a Welcoming City by unanimous vote on January 30, 2017, and Resolution 31420 affirming Seattle to be a Human Rights City on December 10, 2012; and

WHEREAS, the City adopted Ordinance 125296 in April 2017, creating and funding the City’s first Immigrant Legal Defense Network, which provides, in partnership with King County, legal representation, guidance, and/or referral to indigent immigrants who live or work in Seattle and King County; and

WHEREAS, the City recommits to its policy to be a Welcoming City, and considers detainment of children to be harmful to their growth and welfare.