Albert Bryan, Allison Petrus and Angel Dawson, in a joint statement issued on June 21 distanced themselves from a Trump administration policy that had separated children of illegal immigrants from their parents, after the immigrants crossed America’s borders with Mexico illegally in search for a better life.
The separation of children from parents, which was part of Mr. Trump’s “zero tolerance” immigration policy (but has also happened under prior administrations, including Barack Obama’s, though to a lesser extent,) has been the cause of a controversy still simmering in Washington, after children were pictured crying, and some heard via audio screaming for their parents.
In the joint statement, the three Democratic candidates vying for the party’s nomination during the August 4 primary election, described the policy as an “inhumane atrocity,” and quoted Amnesty International, a global movement of more than 7 million people in over 150 countries and territories who campaign to end abuses of human rights, as stating, “This is nothing short of torture. The severe mental suffering that officials have intentionally inflicted on these families for coercive purposes, means that these acts meet the definitions of torture under both U.S. and international law.”
“As images of caged children and audio of young people wailing for their parents have circulated widely, the Democratic Party of the Virgin Islands wants it clearly known that we are the party of diversity and welcome people from every persuasion and every religious denomination. We are a Nation and territory of those who were immigrants, by force or by choice, at one time or another,” reads the statement.
“We, the Virgin Islands Democratic gubernatorial candidates are united in support of family unity, and support the law that prohibits family detention centers,” the statement adds.
Although the policy has since been abandoned by the president, the local Democrats consider this abandonment a “sham.”
“POTUS is giving all people a 6 for a 9, and the policy can be re-instituted in 20 days,” the statement says.
The Democrats also called on Governor Kenneth Mapp to issue an executive order with a directive that says “no territorial resources, funds or the Virgin Islands National Guard, will be expended or deployed in support” of Mr. Trump’s zero tolerance immigration policies.
“In the event that the Mapp-Potter administration fails to issue that executive order, we the Virgin Islands Democratic gubernatorial teams are united and when elected pledge that on the first day of our administration, so order,” the statement concludes.