At the June 21 Business Meeting of the Clackamas County Board of Commissioners, Commissioner Sonya Fischer introduced a statement concerning the ongoing national issue involving immigrant family separation.
Fischer was the catalyst for this action, as after recent personal experiences and reflection, she felt compelled to bring this statement before the Board of Commissioners. The text of the statement she read is:
"We, the Equity, Diversity and Inclusion Council of Clackamas County, Clackamas County Administration and Clackamas County Board of Commissioners stand in solidarity with the international community to denounce the inhumane and un-American treatment of immigrants and asylum seekers who seek refuge, freedom and fundamental human rights in the United States.
"We further denounce the immoral and unjust treatment of children and families through forced separation and incarceration. "We believe families matter. In light of his executive order reversing the forced separation of children from their parents, we call upon President Donald J. Trump and his administration to cease and desist from the unconscionable treatment of children as criminals and immediately reunify affected families.
"We believe all men, women and children are created equal and deserve dignity."
All five commissioners made comments about the statement. Highlights include:
Chair Jim Bernard: “I wasn’t here when the Japanese were interned, but my father was … and when they left [for camps] a lot of people tried to take that land. A lot of citizens in Milwaukie didn’t let that happen. I was very proud of the fact that my father and grandfather fought to make sure that when they came home they got their land back.” (9:25)
Commissioner Sonya Fischer: “I really didn’t know what [commissioners] could do … Helen Keller had a quote once that I like to repeat, ‘I am one, still I am one. I cannot do everything, but I can do something. I will not refuse to do the something that I can do.’” (1:30)
Commissioner Ken Humberston: “The fear mongering that I have seen in this country in the last year-and-a-half regarding people coming across the border, to me, is disgusting … Crossing the border is nothing more than a misdemeanor. Being in the country without permission is not even a misdemeanor, it is a civil offense. To lock people up for a civil offense is not something we do in the law enforcement community … Yet the Supreme Court has ruled repeatedly that any person in the United States of America is entitled to the full due process of law.” (11:36)
Commissioner Paul Savas: “Just think about the task of trying to reunite [the children] with their parents, when we don’t even know where they come from, and who they are. It’s a very sad situation.” (6:10)
Commissioner Martha Schrader: “This is trauma that can mold somebody’s lifelong experiences, and I think we’re going to have to be prepared for that … This is not who we are as a country.” (7:30)