San Jose Weighs Resolution Condemning President Trump’s Family Separation Policy

San Jose’s City Council will consider a resolution Tuesday night denouncing the Trump administration’s separation of families at the U.S. border.

The proposal, submitted by Councilman Raul Peralez, condemns the U.S. Department of Justice’s zero-tolerance policy that resulted in the “inhumane separation of families” and calls for the immediate reunification of children who remain apart from their parents.

Since U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions enacted the zero-tolerance policy, some 2,600 children have been separated from their parents, according to the Peralez memo. Many of those families torn apart at the border came from Central American countries to seek asylum in the U.S. from violence and poverty in their homelands.

Of the 2,600 children removed from parental custody, however, nearly 500 remain separated with no set date for reunification, Peralez noted.

“Due to this reactionary form of policy making and failure to thoroughly prepare and implement, the results thus far have been devastating,” he wrote in his resolution proposal. “Parents are coerced into signing their own deportation order without due process, under the threat of whether they wanted to be reunited with their children. Children have been reported to appear mentally or physically troubled when they finally reunite with their parents. Some children seemed detached and traumatized while others believed that their parents did not want them and thus the reason for their separation.”

The effects of the policy will likely haunt families for years to come, Peralez added.

“Not only was the policy implemented abruptly and poorly, but if the administration continues its failure to reunite existing families, the longer lasting the mental health damages may be,” he stated.

Peralez also wants the city to weigh in on pending federal policy changes related to a 1997 court ruling restricting the government’s ability to keep children in immigrant detention.

“Considering the failure of the zero tolerance policy, it would be prudent as one of the largest cities of a border state, that we review this administrative action and provide feedback according to our city values,” Peralez stated.

More from the San Jose City Council agenda for September 18, 2018:

  • The city’s contracts with its recycling haulers finally comes up for discussion after getting pushed back a couple of times. For our previous coverage, click here.
  • The council will also revisit a discussion about commercial linkage fees, which would raise money for below-market-rate housing.
  • San Jose will decide whether to formally oppose an initiative that would repeal the statewide gas tax, which raises about $17.5 million a year to repair the city’s roadways. If voters pass Proposition 6 and repeal SB 1, San Jose’s annual funding gap will jump from $41.6 million to $59.1 million. “The longer the city waits to maintain streets, the more expensive the problem gets,” San Jose Department of Transportation Director John Ristow cautioned in his memo. “Spending $1 on pavement maintenance today typically avoids the need to spend at least $5 in future years to attain the same road conditions.”
  • The city could potentially save $8.5 million if it closes 21 open audit recommendations, according to a status report by City Auditor Sharon Erickson’s office. That includes, among other things, renegotiating an agreement with the Santa Clara Valley Water District ($2.8 million), reducing overtime and comp time for managers ($1.6 million), following up on overdue accounts in the Fire Department ($1.2 million), reducing police comp time ($1.1 million).
  • After much debate since last spring over the city’s travel policies, the council will talk about how to curb costs for taxpayers and prevent out-of-town trips from interrupting official business.
  • The city will consider allocating $1.7 million in federal funds to the nonprofits People Assisting the Homeless ($829,494), HomeFirst Services ($580,000) and the Bill Wilson Center ($274,761).
  • At the mayor’s request, the meeting will be adjourned in memory of Merze Dahlin, who died on July 4 at the age of 87. Mertze played a major role in establishing the South Bay Islamic Association and securing it’s the San Jose Islamic Center in downtown as a place of worship.

WHAT: City Council meets
WHEN: 1:30pm Tuesday
WHERE: City Hall, 200 E. Santa Clara St., San Jose
INFO: City Clerk, 408.535.1260

Jennifer Wadsworth is the former news editor for San Jose Inside and Metro Silicon Valley. Follow her on Twitter at @jennwadsworth.


  1. So, human traffickers take children from their parents in central America, haul them “unaccompanied” through Mexico, and then smuggle them over the border.

    And then claim they are separated from their parents? And it’s Trump’s fault?

    The “children separated from their parents” can easily be reunited with their parents: in their country of origin.

  2. Councilmember Peralez:

    When you were a San Jose Police Officer, did you ever arrest a single parent (or both parents) where a child and or children were separated from their parent(s) and placed into some variation of foster-care?

    To the best of your knowledge and recollections; While you were a San Jose Police Officer, did any San Jose Police Officer ever arrest a single parent (or both parents) where a child and or children were separated from their parent(s) and placed into some variation of foster-care?

    If you answered “Yes” to either question, did you write a Memorandum documenting your concerns as to the possible long-term mental health damage to the aforementioned children?

    If you answer is “NO:” as a San Jose Police Officer did you or any San Jose Police Officer take the child and or children to county jail with their parent(s)?

    David S. Wall

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