LGBTQ candidates and elected officials around the country have made their voices heard on the recent and contentious issue occurring at the US-Mexico border: the separation of children from their parents once the parents crossed the border with their children. Below are just some of the ways LGBTQ leaders have responded in recent days:
Tammy Baldwin, US Senator from Wisconsin, stated that “…tearing families apart and traumatizing children is wrong and immoral.”
Mark Takano, U.S. Representative for California’s 41st Congressional District, penned a powerful op-ed linking the policy to his family’s experience in internment camps.
Sean Patrick Maloney, U.S. Representative for New York’s 18th congressional, marched out of the U.S. Capitol with his Democratic colleagues to protest what they deemed as GOP inaction.
Jared Polis, U.S. Representative and Colorado gubernatorial candidate, called out the I.C.E. detention center in Aurora, Co., over concerns about insufficient medical care. The ACLU has been investigating the facility since last December when a 64-year-old woman detainee died under suspicious circumstances. The cause of death remains unknown.
Maura Healey, Attorney General of Massachusetts, on June 19th was one of the 21 state Attorney Generals to issue a statement to the federal government expressing condemnation of the actions of the administration.
Jenny Durkan, Mayor of Seattle, traveled to Texas on her own dime and joined 13 other mayors to tour a detention facility near El Paso and protest the actions of the administration.
JoCasta Zamarripa, State Representative from Wisconsin, was alongside other Democratic lawmakers in Madison when they announced their condemnation of the policy in a news conference. Zamarripa said “Trump could end the crisis with a phone call.”
Mary Gonzalez, State Representative from Texas, “snuck in” to a tent city in her El Paso district and said, “There’s an intentionality around keeping this silent and keeping it invisible.”
Rich Madaleno, State Senator and candidate for Governor from Maryland, visited an ICE detention center in Howard County, MD to oppose the administration’s actions.
Lupe Valdez, Dallas County Sheriff and candidate for Governor from Texas, criticized Greg Abbott, current Governor of Texas, for his silence on the issue, stating that he “…lectures us about morals and values has silently condoned this inhumanity.”
Carlos Guillermo Smith, State Representative from Florida, delivered an impassioned speech directed to his NRA-backed colleagues. “You think taking your guns away is taking away your freedom? Forget guns. What if they took YOU? What if they took YOUR loved ones?”
These responses demonstrate that LGBTQ elected leaders are the antidote to this hostile political climate. Under escalating public pressure, President Trump has signed an executive order reversing his own administration’s Zero Tolerance Policy, but it remains to be seen what efforts will be made to reunite families. LGBTQ officials will undoubtedly remain on the frontlines advocating for inclusion, fairness, and social justice.