Yolo County is now on the record as opposing the practice of children being separated from their parents at the U.S.-Mexico border.
With a 3-2 vote, Yolo County supervisors adopted a resolution Tuesday which states that Yolo County is opposed to “current practices that separate children and parents/adults,” and calls for “an immediate end to the separation of children and families.”
Thursday the Justice Department stated attempts to reunite children and their families continued, and the administration along with the American Civil Liberties Union were due in court Friday as a judge holds tight to a July 26 deadline for families to be reunited.
On Monday, the judge put a temporary hold on deporting parents while the government prepared a response to the ACLU’s request for parents to have at least one week to decide whether to pursue asylum in the U.S. after they are reunited with their children.”
Supervisors Duane Chamberlain and Matt Rexroad opposed the adoption of the resolution, but for different reasons.
“I agree with about 90 percent of what is here,” Chamberlain said of the resolution. “I do not agree with the first sentence (Yolo County, a safe and welcoming place for all) … does that mean we welcome criminals … ?”
Chamberlain explained that he has 11 farmworkers from Mexico, and seemed to choke up as he said they came to the U.S. by themselves, leaving their families behind and sending money to them to support them from afar.
The resolution’s statement to welcome all was the main reason for Chamberlain’s no vote, he reiterated, adding that if that wording had been left out, he would have voted yes.
Rexroad explained that the resolution seemed to just be something supervisors could feel good about doing without actually putting money out to try to help those in need.
“We don’t have any resources to put on this,” Rexroad said. “If this really mattered to us, we would be putting resources,” toward the Public Defender’s Office to provide legal services to those who can’t afford representation.
Supervisor Jim Provenza — who helped author the resolution alongside Supervisor Don Saylor, with input from Yolo Interfaith Immigration Network and the Immigration Justice Team of the Unitarian Universalist Church of Davis — said the resolution may not matter if only one or two counties or cities did it, but when there are multiple counties standing against “something bad,” it can effect change.
Once the need for funds is established, Provenza said, supervisors can decide where to allocate the funds to ensure they could benefit those who need it.
On Tuesday, the Trump administration and the American Civil Liberties Union failed to agree on how much time parents should have to decide whether to seek asylum after they are reunited with their children who were separated at the U.S.-Mexico border.
The administration proposed a four-day waiting period, three days shorter than the ACLU proposed, according to government filing in federal court.
The longer waiting period would increase costs and occupy limited beds, David Jennings, an official at U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement, said in a declaration filed with the court. It costs $319 a day to detain a family member, and there are about 2,500 to 2,700 beds nationwide to house families.
U.S. District Judge Dana Sabraw imposed a temporary halt last week on deporting reunified families after the ACLU requested the one-week waiting period, citing “persistent and increasing rumors … that mass deportations may be carried out imminently and immediately upon reunification.” The ACLU argued parents needed the time to discuss whether to seek asylum with their children, lawyers and advocates.
The two sides appeared close to an agreement on Monday when they jointly requested a 24-hour extension to iron out differences.
There have been 1,187 children reunified with their parents or “other appropriate discharges,” which include guardians and sponsors, according to Monday’s filing.
More than 1,600 parents were considered eligible for reunification, including 217 who have been released into the United States. About 900 more are considered “either not eligible, or not yet known to be eligible, for reunification.”
The Associated Press contributed to this report.