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HOD Resolution-International Humanitarian Crisis at the U.S. Border

Sponsors: The New York State Council for the Social Studies (NYSCSS) and The Association of Teachers of Social Studies / United Federation of Teachers, New York City (ATSS/UFT-NYC)

Co-Sponsors: Minnesota Council for the Social Studies

Rationale: The current influx of unaccompanied child refugees at the U.S. border is an international humanitarian crisis that should be addressed by NCSS as a professional association devoted to the teaching of social studies issues and civic life, including humanitarian concerns.

WHEREAS: the current influx of unaccompanied children at the U.S. border is an international humanitarian crisis in desperate need of attention; and

WHEREAS: thousands of young lives are in jeopardy as children seek refuge, fleeing communities overrun by orga- nized crime, violence, human trafficking, and persecution; and

WHEREAS: the number of unaccom- panied children at the border, which was 5,200 in 2012, has swelled to more than 52,000 this year, and it could reach 90,000 or more; and

WHEREAS: children have been forced into overcrowded detention centers with unsanitary conditions; and WHEREAS: children have consistently reported being held in unsanitary and overcrowded conditions beyond the legally mandated 72-hour period; and

WHEREAS: complaints, including allegations of abuse and mistreatment while in the custody of U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP), sexual assault, beatings, racially and sexually charged comments, and death threats, have been registered; and

WHEREAS: administrative complaints have been filed by a number of civil liberties and immigrant rights organizations, including the National Immigrant Justice Center (NIJC) and the ACLU Border Litigation Project, with the Office for Civil Rights and Civil Liberties in the Department of Homeland Security (DHS), as well as with the DHS Office of the Inspector General, the department’s only mechanism for seeking redress, on behalf of more than 100 unaccompanied immigrant children; and

WHEREAS: the issues involved are social studies issues, aligned with the NCSS adopted C3 Framework on Civic Life, and within the scope of NCSS concerns;

THEREFORE, BE IT RESOLVED,

that NCSS applaud the work of civic leaders, clergy, refugee and immigrant rights groups, labor, and other community organizations to ensure that children’s health, educational, safety, and legal needs are being met, while awaiting decisions on their cases; and

BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED,

that NCSS, as a representative of those who teach and care for our next generation, strongly condemn any ill treatment of children in the detention centers, and urge authorities to put the safety and well being of children first.

(Note: Statistics and details in the resolution above were adapted from an American Federation of Teachers Resolution passed at the AFT Convention in Los Angeles in July, 2014.) Resolution passed by the HOD.

Resolution passed by the 58th NCSS House of Delegates, November 2014; approved by NCSS Board of Directors March 2015.

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