The City Council voted unanimously today to condemn current federal policies on breaking up families at the border, after Councilor Michelle Wu (at large) broke down in tears today as she explained she's had trouble just leaving the house the past couple of days after watching all the news and after Councilor Josh Zakim (Beacon Hill, Back Bay, Fenway), whose family fled the Nazis two generations ago, said comparisons to the actions of Nazi Germany are "entirely appropriate."
"I am ashamed this is being done in all our names," Zakim said.
Wu, whose parents are both immigrants, and to whom an aide handed a box of tissues as she spoke, said she could not keep thinking of her two young children as she watched the news.
"I have not been able to leave the house for the last couple of days without freaking out," Wu said.
"For me, this has truly shaken me to the core, that we have decision makers and policy makers who do not recognize the humanity of us, and the ability to see your babies reflected in the toddlers that are being taken away, that are for life being impacted in this incredibly cruel way."
Councilors recognized the resolution will likely have no impact in Washington, but said they could not simply sit by and continue with their normal business of potholes and playgrounds.
Councilor Matt O'Malley, who has been critical in the past of the council passing resolution on non-city issues, said even councilors have to stand up "for real American values" rather than do nothing about "vile and disgusting" policies." After listening to the audio of children crying for their parents, he thought, "My God, this seems surreal; sadly, it it not, it is happening in the United States of America."
"We cannot be passive in complicity," Councilor Ayanna Pressley (at large), who co-sponsored the resolution with Wu and Zakim, said. She said even in Massachusetts, people could do things to help - by convincing their legislators to pass a statewide "safe communities" sanctuary act and working to get immigrants everything from driver's licenses to counseling.
"It is frustrating, it is upsetting, it is maddening," Councilor Anissa Essabi George - herself the daughter of immigrants - said. "It boggles my mind we are even having conversions about this."
Councilor Ed Flynn (South Boston, South End, Chinatown, downtown) noted Boston's immigrant past and the role immigrants have played in making Boston what it is today.
Council President Andrea Campbell (Dorchester) said the issue was the first thing she and her staff discussed at a weekly Monday meeting. It was a painful meting, she said, because many of her staffers are immigrants
She said what makes it all worse is the attempt by Trump officials to tie their activity to the Bible.
"This is not what Christianity, or any faith, is about - ripping children from their families, ripping children from their parents, treating children in such a way," she said, adding even more disturbing is to realize that some people who agree with the administration are in her own family.
"I haven't felt powerless in a very long time," she said. But she continued she draws hope from the fact that America has had similar "dark circumstances" in its past and has managed to come out of them.
Video of council discussion.