Today, I have sent the following letter to Chuck Schumer, senator from New York State and Senate Minority Leader urging him to take further strong action regarding the horrific abuse of human rights that is currently being perpetrated by US Immigration and Customs Enforcement.
Dear Mr. Schumer,
First of all, please know that I am a U.S. citizen, formerly a resident of (and still a voter in) Brooklyn, NY. I am also a member of Democrats Abroad, where I have been active. Furthermore, I am an immigrant (currently living in another country than my country of birth) and a father of two.
I am writing to you to express my outrage at what is currently happening on the U.S. border. As reported in the New York Times, 5-year-old children are being kept in cages due to a rule change put in place solely by the Trump administration and implemented by an increasingly fascistic ICE agency. There can be no other description for what is going on here than ethnic cleansing and I cannot help but see it as part of a general slide into authoritarianism based on a racist ideology that brands some people as “animals” due to their ethnicity or country of origin. What is happening here seems like it must be against the law on child cruelty grounds alone.
However, so far you and your office have remained mostly silent on this issue. Why? What are you waiting for?
- I call on you to vociferously support the efforts of your senate colleagues to pass the Keep Families Together Act. [NB: when I sent this letter, I did not realize that Mr. Schumer has actually been a cosponsor of the legislation in question. Having said that, my criticism stands because he has not spoken out on this issue and the fact that he has co-sponsored does not appear anywhere on his web site or on his Twitter feed.]
- I call on you to investigate who has been responsible for putting this policy in place and for implementing it and to prosecute these people for human rights violations and child cruelty.
- I further call on you to support and demand the dismantling of ICE in its current form. This organization has become the enforcement arm of Trump’s radical racist agenda and needs to be broken up and put under strict control with a human rights agenda at the core.
This is the minimum I expect from my senator, and the Senate minority leader. The country is sliding into fascism, Mr. Schumer. The time is now to put everything else to the side. If we cannot get this right, how we treat children and families of immigrants that lawfully present themselves at the border of our nation, then we do not deserve to be a nation. I urge you to put everything else aside and do everything in your power including obstructing, blocking and lying down in the Senate chamber to halt proceedings if you need to. Our government should shut down until this issue is solved, those children are back with their families, and we are on a path to right the wrongs that are currently being perpetrated in our names at the border.
Daniel K. Appelquist
U.S. citizen and voter in Brooklyn, New York