California Senate Is Asking US Government To Apologize For Family Separations
UPDATE: 12:15 p.m., Aug. 16, 2018
The California Senate passed a resolution Thursday asking President Trump and Congress to take responsibility for separating immigrant families at the border.
Twenty-nine Senators voted yes, three voted no and eight abstained. The dissenting votes were Joel Anderson, Mike Morrell and Jim Nielsen.
California state senators want the nation’s top leaders to acknowledge wrongdoing when it comes to the separation of immigrant children from their parents at the border and to apologize for the practice.
A joint resolution planned for debate Thursday asks the President and Congress to take responsibility for the "detrimental" practice, which officials stopped in response to a public outcry and a San Diego-based federal judge's order. The resolution also asks Congress to issue a formal apology to the children.
The U.S. government has apologized for human rights violations in the past, including the internment of Japanese citizens during World War II, slavery and Jim Crow laws.
California Senator Kevin de León said the Trump administration is dragging its feet on court-ordered family reunifications, with more than 500 children still separated, in part because no one has acknowledged responsibility for "the barbaric and atrocious acts" of family separations, which he describes as "government-sanctioned kidnapping."
During a Senate hearing this month, a Health and Human Services official said he warned the Trump administration that family separations would traumatize children. The White House did not respond to a request for comment from KPBS.
“They created the problem, they need to fix the problem and make sure there is clear accountability," de León said.
The joint resolution in the California state senate cites research and comments from top health organizations, including the American Psychiatric Association and the American Academy of Pediatrics, showing that family separations cause long-term damage to children's brains.
Senator Richard Pan, who introduced the resolution, likened the practice to Japanese internment.
“We should apologize to these children we have permanently harmed," he said.
If the resolution is passed, the President and leaders of Congress will receive copies for consideration.