Los Angeles, CA – Thomas A. Saenz, president and general counsel of MALDEF (Mexican American Legal Defense and Educational Fund), released the following statement today on the Trump administration’s “zero tolerance” immigration stance that has led to forced separation of families and horrific accounts of children being taken from their parents:

“Our nation’s soul is at stake.

“These are not words taken lightly or invoked easily. However, the simple truth is that the Trump administration is, on a daily basis and on a scale that is horrific to grasp, terrorizing toddlers, traumatizing children, debasing family values, and assaulting the love of parents, all in the name of a grotesque ‘zero tolerance’ that demeans every person involved. Routinely separating parents and children is not – and cannot ever be – legitimate public policy. It is immorality. It is cruelty. It is illegality. It is perhaps one of the starkest modern embodiments of inhumanity.

“And it is all being done in the name of the United States.

“MALDEF is a legal organization; as such, MALDEF values the rule of humane law and respects its power in our American democracy. To have the implementation of wickedness cravenly defended as an imperative under the law is despicable and repugnant.

“The purported justification is also a lie.

“Sometimes our legal precedents do not fit comfortably with extant wrongdoing because the scope and shape of the inhumanity is so unprecedented and unanticipated. Nonetheless, the law is far better than this administration would have us all believe. At MALDEF, we are working to challenge this unprecedented assault on families through the legal system. But the legal system is slow-moving, and the situation is dire. In the meantime, there is much else to be done.

“Leaders must be held accountable.

“MALDEF calls upon Jeff Sessions to resign. His implementation of a ‘zero tolerance’ policy to convict and punish parents for taking risk to avoid unimaginable violence being visited upon their children is mindless, lawless, and insupportable. Sessions does not know the law or care what it is. He is incompetent and inhumane, and has no place leading the Justice Department.

“MALDEF also calls upon Congress to restrain the Trump administration from continuing its atrocious policy. With the feckless Donald Trump unable to demonstrate leadership because of his insatiable fetish for white nationalism and its adherents, the Congress must act swiftly to lead. Leadership means a clean termination of the inhumane policy. Inhumanity is not a political bargaining chip, or a horse to be traded for a wall or increased enforcement by a corrupt law enforcement agency. Inhumanity is a cancer to be excised cleanly and completely.

“These steps are needed to save our national soul.”