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Video: DNC Member Yasmine Taeb’s Powerful, Emotional Speech About Family Separation and Her Own Family’s Refugee Story

"This administration's anti-immigrant, anti refugee family separation policy, they're all a stain on our nation's conscience."


See below for a very powerful, emotional speech by DNC member Yasmine Taeb, who works at the Center for Victims of Torture, about Trump’s heinous family separation policy and also her own family’s story of fleeing for their lives from Iran and coming to America via Mexico.

“Like all of you, I find this administration’s family separation policy unacceptable and absolutely reprehensible. I’m also here as someone who fled war and turmoil as a refugee and was welcomed in America. Although two decades have passed since my family and I crossed from Mexico into the US, the memories came flooding back as I watched the heart-wrenching images [pause as she gets emotional, collects herself, is supported by the crowd] of children being taken from their parents at the southern border.

I was just seven years old and the Iran-Iraq war, which ultimately left a million dead was raging. my older brother was about to get drafted to fight and most likely die, despite being just 14 years old. So my mom did what millions of other Iranian parents did. She packed up her children and fled the country in search of safety. After arriving in Turkey, my mother, two brothers, sister and I spent months living out of suitcases in a motel as my mother tried everything she possibly could to find a legal way for us to join my father, who was living in the U.S. Frustrated and running out of options to save her family my mom began to lose hope. Finally, with our visas about to expire and risking certain death if we were to return to Iran, my mom made an impossible decision to entrust our lives and our hopes for a better future to a smuggler, who guided us and traveled with us to Mexico. We were told to wear dark clothing, to only move at night and to split up once we reached the border to reduce the risk of being caught.

I am where I am today because my own American journey began at a time when our immigration laws and policies were more humane and not as draconian as it has become. As a result, I was given a chance. I wasn’t turned away at the border. I wasn’t separated from my mother. I wasn’t kept out of school because I didn’t have documentation. For two weeks, we were kept in a detention center but I can’t imagine how it feels for a child to have to go through that by themselves and be kept up in a cage all alone.

Some politicians are going to extraordinary lengths to deny safety to those seeking it. The president’s ugly executive order, which came out on World Refugee Day, purporting to trade the abhorrent practice of family separation for the cruelty of prolonged detention
in these cages is the most recent example. This administration’s anti-immigrant, anti refugee family separation policy, they’re all a stain on our nation’s conscience.

As Americans, we have a proud history of welcoming those fleeing violence and persecution. It’s a tradition I benefited from, as have millions of others. Now it’s our responsibility to help those most vulnerable in our communities and in the world. As Americans we have an ethical and moral obligation to live our values and be a light and hope for those seeking safe haven. I will continue to speak up and speak out and fight for these families and children who are being targeted by this unconscionable policy.”

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