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Transcript: Mayor Durkan’s Remarks on Trump Administration’s Family Separation Policy at Port of Entry in Tornillo, Texas

Seattle (June 21, 2018) – Standing with a bipartisan delegation of mayors from the United States Conference of Mayors (USCM) today at the Tornillo Port of Entry in Texas and near the gates of a federal facility for separated migrant children in Tornillo, Texas, Seattle Mayor Jenny A. Durkan today called on the Trump Administration to reunite separated migrant families and to abandon its ‘zero tolerance’ policy that criminalizes asylum seekers.

Following her remarks, Mayor Durkan walked to the gates of a federal facility for separated migrant children and requested access, but was denied.

Two weeks ago, Mayor Durkan introduced a resolution condemning the Department of Justice’s and Department of Homeland Security’s “zero tolerance” policy of separating children from their families – the resolution passed unanimously at the 86th Annual Meeting of the USCM. Earlier this week, Mayor Durkan joined a bipartisan group of former United States Attorneys to urge the Department of Justice to reverse its policies.

Mayor Durkan’s remarks as delivered:

I come to you today and stand here as the mayor of Seattle, Washington, which is one of the fastest growing, most innovative cities in this country, that has a large population of immigrants and refugees who contribute every day to the innovation and fabric of our city.

We try every day to make real on the promise of sanctuary for those immigrants and refugees. 

But I also come to you as a mother, as a former federal prosecutor, as the granddaughter of a teenager who left a war-torn country and was welcomed in America, and I come to you as an American.

There are moments in time in the arc and history of a nation… [recording cuts out]

How our nation reacts today will define who we are as a country.

We stand here as mayors, as fathers, brothers, sisters, uncles, mothers, to say we are better than this as a country.

We are so much better than this, and the promise of America is better than this.

Our collective voices will join with voices throughout this country until this problem, this challenge, this moral crisis is resolved.

I will say to you as a former federal prosecutor, who prosecuted a range of crimes at the border, who went against Mexican drug cartels, who did immigration cases:

Nothing we are doing today makes our country any safer, and instead it degrades the moral conscience of our country.

Look not just at us as Mayors. Look around you. Look around you. Is this desert anywhere any of us would put children?

Every one of those children has family, parents that they have been separated from.

We have seen the horror to know that children are being parceled out like they are commodities, throughout the country, in the dead of night.

They [the Trump Administration] have no idea who their parents are.

So every American should know, nothing changed with that Executive Order, except for the words.

We must stand strong until the actions change, until those children are reunited with every parent, until the policy at the border changes, until we fix our broken immigration policy and until we as a country recommit to the values that founded us: that we welcome people, we are built on diversity, and we will be a better nation going forward when we recognize the promise and truth of America, which we are breaking every day with this policy of this Administration.

Thank you.