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Mayor Tim Keller, First Lady Elizabeth Kistin Keller Provide Perspective as Parents During Travel to Tornillo

A Bipartisan Delegation of Mayors Demand Answers on Harmful Policy that Separated Children from Parents.

ALBUQUERQUE, NM – Mayor Tim Keller and First Lady Elizabeth Kistin Keller, parents of two young children, provided perspective as parents during travel with a bipartisan delegation of mayors to Tornillo to demand families be reunited and that harmful policies that separate children from their parents are never implemented again.

“The cruelty of these separations is almost incomprehensible. When we were getting ready to join the bipartisan delegation of mayors last night our four year old daughter rounded up this bag of stuffed animals and asked us to take it to the kids who have none,” said Mayor Tim Keller. “Together we must step up and take action and write a chapter of history that my children will not be appalled by, instead one that they will be proud of.”

During the event in Tornillo First Lady Elizabeth Kistin Keller said, “We were fortunate to hug and kiss our 2 and 4 year old good night last night before we hit the road and we are heartbroken beyond words as we think of all the families – the parents, the kids, the babies that have been pulled apart and forced to say indefinite goodbyes.”

Two weeks ago, Mayor Tim Keller called for an end to the family separation policy in a letter to U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions and Department of Homeland Security Kirstjen Nielsen. Despite the Trump administration’s about-face on this issue, many questions remain unanswered. Specifically, more than 2,300 children remain in facilities without their parents and there is not an immediate plan to reunite them with their families.

Creating an inclusive Albuquerque started with Mayor Keller walking the walk at City Hall, by creating the Office of Equity and Inclusion, which includes the Office of Immigrant and Refugee Affairs.  This office will be working on these issues year-round to ensure that all families have the support and resources that they need.

Last week during its 86th Annual Meeting, U.S. Conference of Mayors unanimously passed a resolution registering its strong opposition to separating children from their families at the border.  It called on the Department of Homeland Security and Department of Justice to immediately reverse these destructive policies and allow families apprehended to remain together to the extent possible, to help avoid the heartbreak and irreversible trauma of forced separation. Additionally, the resolution urges Congress to take action immediately to ensure that the Department of Justice and the Department of Homeland Security are prohibited from this wholesale separation of children from their families at the border.