Office of the Vermont Attorney General

Attorney General Donovan Calls for End to Child Separation

June 19, 2018

Contact: Charity Clark, Chief of Staff, (802) 828-3737

AG: Separating children from their parents to deter victims of violence from seeking lawful asylum in America is wrong

Attorney General T.J. Donovan and 20 other state attorneys general called on United States Attorney General Jeff Sessions to end the cruel and illegal attacks on children and families lawfully seeking asylum in the United States. These families are seeking protection from domestic, sexual, and gang violence. In recent weeks, the federal government has separated thousands of asylum-seeking children from their parents. It has also reclassified the protective status of international domestic violence survivors. By letter, General Donovan and 20 other state attorneys general demand that Attorney General Sessions immediately stop putting children in danger by separating them from their families.

“I know Vermonters join me in feeling heartbroken that the federal government is needlessly separating children from their parents,” Donovan said. “This policy is wrong and totally unnecessary and should stop immediately.”

Attorney General Donovan and the coalition of attorneys general argue that these policies are violations of international, federal, and state law, as well as of judicial precedent. Almost universally, those laws and precedents state that children’s best interests are in remaining with their parents, absent a rigorous judicial inquiry. The Department of Justice is ignoring those best interests, putting politics ahead children.

The letter also reads: “These practices directly interfere with the efforts of our offices and other law enforcement officials—locally, nationally, and internationally—to prevent and prosecute crime. In most states, Attorneys General are responsible for enforcing laws that include human trafficking, drug trafficking, and gang violence offenses. As you are keenly aware, these issues are rarely local in context, rather they require the efforts and collaboration of law enforcement officials across both state and international borders to prevent the widespread and syndicated perpetration of these crimes.”

Attorney General T.J. Donovan is joined by the attorneys general of California, Connecticut, Delaware, District of Columbia, Hawaii, Illinois, Iowa, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, Minnesota, New Jersey, New Mexico, New York, North Carolina, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, Virginia, and Washington in demanding an immediate change in policy.

Please follow this link for the letter that was delivered today.

Last modified: June 19, 2018