MIAMI-DADE UNIVERSITY AND COLLEGE COMMUNITIES AGAINST FAMILIAL SEPARATION AT THE US BORDER

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An Open Letter to Elected Representatives in Miami-Dade County

June 30, 2018

 

As researchers, teachers, and employees in higher education across South Florida, we unequivocally denounce the Trump administration’s policy of “zero tolerance” in all its ramifications: migration should not be a crime, and jailing children is cruel, damaging and morally indefensible. We demand action from our representatives to:

  • Decriminalize immigration;
  • End immigration detention in favor of humane alternatives that are already proven successful;
  • Immediately take all steps necessary to reunify families that have been separated including creating a national database of separated children and family members;
  • Do whatever it takes to mitigate the psychological and physical harm caused to the thousands of victims of family separation, including young children and infants.

South Florida is a place deeply shaped by immigrants from the Caribbean and Latin America, as well as by the Jewish diaspora. Without these refugees and economic migrants, documented and undocumented, the vibrant culture and dynamic spirit of our home would not exist. Our universities and the research they produce would be impoverished without the many faculty, staff, and students who have migrated here from all over the world. Our community also has a deep personal understanding of the suffering that leads people to leave their birth countries, the traumas of migration, and the inter-generational impact of separation, repression and violence. State-sanctioned and even state-perpetrated violence against children and families are unfortunately familiar to many in our community. More broadly, authoritarian politicians all over the world are using people’s anxiety about the global refugee crisis to increase their power. Therefore, it is more important than ever that we act with compassion and reason, rather than fear, racism, and xenophobia.

The separation of children and infants from their families upon their arrival in this country is, by definition, child abuse. We refer you to a letter on these separations’ devastating and lasting effects written by scholars who specialize in health, psychology, and trauma, here. While President Trump’s executive order supposedly ends this practice, thousands of children remain in detention without their parents, across the country. This is unacceptable. The government has no plan for their reunification and no plan for their care. This appalling and heartless incompetence is going to be difficult to rectify, but it must be done.

The Trump administration’s so-called solution to the problem it has created is to detain children with their families, in line with proposed bills by Paul Ryan, Ted Cruz, and Mark Meadows. Creating new forms of incarceration is not the answer. The American Association of Pediatrics categorically opposes the detention of immigrant children, whether they are with their families or not. There are alternatives to detention, and they work. The Family Case Management Program, which monitored and provided aid to migrant families whose cases were being processed, had a 99% success rate of families appearing for check-ins and court appearances and cost far less than imprisonment, before Trump abolished it.

We all have an obligation to speak out, and we expect our local, state, and federal representatives to resist inhumane national policies, and make right their consequences. Standing up to the mistreatment of the most vulnerable is the definition of public service, and we are counting on you to do the right thing.

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Signed by the following verified Miami-Dade higher education professionals as of June 28, 2018. Note: We will add names as they are verified. If you wish to add your name to the verified list please note your higher ed affiliation in the comments section.

Alexandra Timmer, Concorde Career Colleges, Inc.

Jorge Duany, Florida International University

Martha Schoolman, Florida International University

Richard Tardanico, Florida International University

Ellen Thompson, Florida International University

Mariam Nassirnia, Florida International University

Heather Blatt, Florida International University

Moses Shumow, Florida International University

Deanne Butchey, Florida International University

Dan Bentley-Baker, Florida International University

Debra Dean, Florida International University

Kimberly Taylor, Florida International University

Glenn Hutchinson, Florida International University

Alexandra Cornelius, Florida International University

Melanie Morales, Florida International University

Craig McGill, Florida International University

Jason Pearl, Florida International University

Susanne Zwingel, Florida International University

Karina Livingston, Florida International University

Zenel Garcia, Florida International University

Paul Feigenbaum, Florida International University

Terrence Peterson, Florida International University

Tenesha Avent, Florida International University

Naisy Sarduy, Florida International University

Luke Thominet, Florida International University

Nathaniel Cadle, Florida International University             

Judith Williams, Florida International University

Jeffrey Rothkopf, Higher Standards SAT & Tutorial

Christine Mosso, Miami International University of Art and Design

Grisselle Príncipe, Miami-Dade Community College

John Funchion, University of Miami

Sallie Hughes, University of Miami

Colee Splichal, University of Miami

Giovanna Pompele, University of Miami

Martha Otis, University of Miami

Ikira Lorenzo, University of Miami

M. Evelina Galang, University of Miami

Kate Ramsey, University of Miami

Tim Watson, University of Miami

Rebecca Sharpless, University of Miami

Felicia Casanova, University of Miami

Manuel Rivera, University of Miami

Romy Lerner, University of Miami

Manohar Murthi, University of Miami

Viviana Diaz Balsera, University of Miami

Viviana Horigian, University of Miami

Victor Deupi, University of Miami

Pamela Geller, University of Miami

Kathleen Sullivan Sealey, University of Miami

Blanca Noriega Esquives, University of Miami

Jessica Orr, University of Miami

William Pestle, University of Miami

Gema Pérez-Sánchez, University of Miami

Caroline Bettinger-Lopez, University of Miami

Louis Herns Marcelin, University of Miami

Morgan Brown, University of Miami

Sophia George, University of Miami

Melvin Butler, University of Miami

Anne Norris, University of Miami

Brenna Munro, University of Miami

Merike Blofield, University of Miami

Tsitsi Wakhisi, University of Miami

Peter Minnett, University of Miami

Jafari Sinclaire Allen, University of Miami

Kurt Voss-Hoynes, University of Miami

Brian Haus, University of Miami

Frank Corbishley, University of Miami

Ashli White, University of Miami

Jason Sylvestre, University of Miami

Elizabeth Iglesias, University of Miami

Natalia Rodriguez, University of Miami

Christina Civantos, University of Miami

Robin Bachin, University of Miami

Melissa Scott, University of Miami

Jyotika Ramaprasad, University of Miami

Thomas Goodmann, University of Miami

Logan Connors, University of Miami

Steve Butterman, University of Miami

Lucina Uddin, University of Miami

Pamela Hammons, University of Miami

Lindsay Thomas, University of Miami

Simon Evnine, University of Miami

Osamudia James, University of Miami

April Mann, University of Miami

Elizabeth Oldman, University of Miami

David Abraham, University of Miami

Marisa Omori, University of Miami

Keith Waddington, University of Miami

Ashmeet Oberoi, University of Miami

Kathryn Freeman, University of Miami

Anthony Barthelemy, University of Miami

Winston Warrior, University of Miami

Claire Oueslati-Porter, University of Miami

Sam Phillips, University of Miami

Emily Khan, University of Miami

Hugh Thomas, University of Miami

Eduardo Elena, University of Miami

Hiep Tran, University of Miami

Ivonne Schulman, University of Miami

Miriam Lipsky, University of Miami

Maria Gracia Pardo, University of Miami

Lidiana de Moraes, University of Miami

Elliot Williams, University of Miami

Krista Goff, University of Miami

Barbara Leibell, University of Miami

Gina Maranto, University of Miami

Chantel Acevedo, University of Miami

Allison Schifani, University of Miami

Roxane Pickens, University of Miami

Keene Haywood, University of Miami

Michael Mueller, University of Miami

Brian Breed, University of Miami

Susan Zabowsky, University of Miami

Nikki Traylor-Knowles, University of Miami

Heidi Carr, University of Miami

Shara Toursh Pavlow, University of Miami

Joshua Schriftman, University of Miami

Nathalie Rodriguez, University of Miami

Brendan Balcerak Jackson, University of Miami

Louise Davidson-Schmich, University of Miami

Alyse Lancaster, University of Miami

Kenneth Broad, University of Miami

Yadira Hernandez, University of Miami

David Letson, University of Miami

Katherine Komis, University of Miami

Tracy Devine Guzmán, University of Miami

London Wood, University of Miami

Frank Stringfellow, University of Miami

Samantha Dietz, University of Miami

Victoria Dunleavy, University of Miami



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