Governor Andrew M. Cuomo today issued an open letter to Vice President Mike Pence on his visit to New York condemning the mistreatment of immigrant families at the border.
The full text of the letter is below:
To Vice President Pence,
Welcome to New York, a beacon of liberty and opportunity to the world. With the Statue of Liberty in our harbor, New York has proudly served as a symbol of our American values and a gateway for millions of immigrants arriving in this country, including your grandfather Richard Michael Cawley.
Today this nation’s commitment to openness and tolerance is under siege by your administration. Your policy of ripping children from their parents is a moral outrage and an assault on the values that built this state and this nation. This policy makes it very clear you have forgotten what made America great.
I write to you as the Governor of New York but also, like you, as the father of three. I cannot bear to imagine the pain and suffering the parents at the border face when their children are taken from them.
If the parents’ anguish does not compel you to end this policy, then the children’s plight must. I have heard the terrifying sobs of the children separated from their parents. And I know that your administration’s actions will have devastating long-term consequences for these children. Research and common-sense point to the developmental effects of depriving children of their parents. Such a traumatic experience can in fact trigger irreversible physical and psychological harm.
I have already expressed my grave concerns with this administration’s anti-immigrant tactics, including when I requested the Department of Homeland Security Acting Inspector General to investigate their discriminatory tactics in our state and called on him to tell us what his office is doing about the assault on immigrant families along the border. And I will continue to fight to defend our American values and protect the rights of all New Yorkers.
While you are in New York, I ask you to remember the words of Emma Lazarus mounted on a plaque inside the pedestal of the Statue of Liberty:
Give me your tired, your poor,
Your huddled masses yearning to breathe free,
The wretched refuse of your teeming shore.
Send these, the homeless, tempest-tost to me,
I lift my lamp beside the golden door!
Governor Andrew M. Cuomo