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Congressman Vicente Gonzalez

Representing the 15th District of Texas

Congressman Gonzalez Demands End to Family Separation Policy on the House Floor

June 14, 2018
Press Release

WASHINGTON – On Wednesday, Congressman Vicente Gonzalez (TX-15) spoke on the House Floor to condemn the U.S. Departments of Justice (DOJ), Homeland Security (DHS), and Health and Human Services’ (HHS) separation of families at the U.S.-Mexico border.

“This ‘zero-tolerance’ policy is un-American,” Congressman Gonzalez said. “It needs to end now.”

 To watch Congressman Gonzalez’s full speech on the House Floor, click on the photo below:

“Thank you, Mr. Speaker,

I rise today to remind the American people of a quick phrase that was recently used by the current administration:

‘It’s not our fault.’

That’s the sentiment of U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions, who deflected responsibility for the zero-tolerance policy that allows the separation of children from their parents at the U.S.-Mexico border.

In the month of May, this heinous new policy led to the separation of more than 600 children in a short, 13-day period.

Yes, we are a nation of laws.

How can you explain family separation when it comes to asylum seekers? They have not illegally crossed, and yet they are being detained and their families separated as if they had crossed the border illegally.  

This is a clear attack on immigrants who have exhausted every last resource to seek refuge in a nation that once welcomed the tired, poor, and huddle masses yearning to breathe free.

Have we forgotten the words spoken in Mark 12:31? To ‘Love thy neighbor as thyself.’

Is our new message to blame others and not thyself?

I think it’s important to consider possible logistical challenges before implementing new policies.

Perhaps instead of calling for zero-tolerance first, you put the prosecutors in place, and the facilities to house folks in a humane manner? 

Instead, we ask the U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ) to lend us their attorneys and rent out closed Walmart’s.

I have no illusions about what the U.S. Departments of Homeland Security (DHS) and Health and Human Services (HHS) are hiding behind those curtains.

We have to remember that these immigrant families are not committing dangerous crimes, and that asylum seekers are not criminals or illegal aliens.

I represent an area along the U.S.-Mexico border where crime is at record all-time-lows.

Yet the administration keeps saying the opposite.

I believe our local officers, local courts, local judges and local prosecutors—both in the Federal and State systems.

Right now, the only increased criminal activity I see is the egregious method of ripping families apart and herding immigrant children into a broken system.

Mr. Speaker, if any of these scared, innocent children ask a member of this House why they are being separated from their families, we cannot merely say ‘it’s not our fault.’

I yield back the balance of my time.”