As the national outcry continues to grow President Donald Trump’s forced separation of immigrant children from their parents, Gary Mayor Karen Freeman-Wilson joined other U.S. mayors in a direct call to end the policy. Freeman-Wilson was part of a U.S. Conference of Mayors (USCM) bipartisan delegation to Tornillo, TX this week to protest the Trump Administration’s family separation policy and call on the Administration for an immediate reversal. The group also included, Columbia, SC, Mayor Steve Benjamin; Rochester Hills, MI, Mayor Bryan Barnett; Los Angeles, CA Mayor Eric Garcetti; Anaheim, CA Mayor Tom Tait; Sacramento, CA, Mayor Christopher Cabaldon; Findlay, OH, Mayor Lydia Mihalik; Miami Gardens, FL Mayor Oliver Gilbert; El Paso, TX Mayor Dee Margo; and, Augusta, GA Mayor Hardie Davis, Jr.
“We have lost our moral compass as a nation,” said Freeman-Wilson in a conference call with reporters.
Since early May, 2,342 children have been separated from their parents after crossing the southern U.S. border, according to the Department of Homeland Security. Activists have accused the Trump administration of warehousing children and infants in “kennel-like conditions” and “concentration camps.”
During last week’s USCM annual meeting, the group unanimously passed a resolution registering its strong opposition to separating children from their families at the border. It calls on the Department of Homeland Security and Department of Justice to immediately reverse what they called, “destructive policies” and allow families apprehended to remain together to the extent possible, to help avoid the trauma of forced separation.
The resolution also called on Congress to ensure that the Department of Justice and the Department of Homeland Security are prohibited from this wholesale separation of children from their families at the border.
U.S. Customs and Border Protection has not backed down on the policy, noting that border-crossing families will be separated.
Freeman-Wilson’s advocacy on behalf of illegal immigrants should come as no surprise to Gary residents. Last year she successfully passed ordinance 9100 which designated the town as a “welcoming city,” an act that caused the municipality to be sued in state court. It was the first legal action of its kind brought against a city for its refusal to comply with immigration laws.
As such, Gary forbids its law enforcement personnel from cooperating with federal immigration officials in the detaining and processing of illegal immigrants.
“We’ve not seen an influx of individuals who are looking to relocate here,” Freeman-Wilson said.