We at the Insight Center are horrified and outraged at the Trump administration’s inhumane policy to separate children from their parents at our nation’s southern border. From mid-April to the end of May, close to 2,000 children – many of whom are infants and toddlers – have been forcibly removed from their parents and loved ones due to new policy dictated by the current administration. We call for an end to this practice immediately, and an end to the criminalization of immigrants and refugees coming to the U.S. in search of safety, economic mobility, and a better life.

Make no mistake – family separation is an age-old tactic used throughout U.S. history to dehumanize, subjugate, and break communities. Enslaved Africans and their descendants routinely had their children, partners, and siblings stripped from them as a means of control. Native American communities suffered such cruelties when the government forced children into boarding schools far away from their families. The intention was to sever these young people’s connection to their community, culture, and identity, and such a practice has had profound and disastrous effects, both psychologically and economically, on Native communities.

In addition to the fundamental wrongs of family separation, history and common sense tell us that tearing apart families has immediate and long-term social and economic consequences, deeply harming affected families and communities, and our society at large. We at the Insight Center believe that all people, regardless of race, zip code, gender, or immigration status, have the right to economic security, and that security begins with the safety of our families. Family separation clashes at the deepest level with our values and mission as an economic and racial justice organization, and we stand with those calling for an end to family separation and the return of children to their parents and loved ones.