American Library Association outraged by the refugee family separation policy

For Immediate Release
Tue, 06/19/2018


Communications and Marketing Office

ALA Media Relations


CHICAGO - American Library Association (ALA) President Jim Neal released the following statement regarding the outrageous and devastating act of separating refugee children from their parents and caregivers seeking asylum along the southwest border of the U.S. 

“The nation’s library community is appalled that innocent children would face such emotional trauma and would be locked in mass facilities and separated from their families,” Neal said. “There is no legitimate policy or moral basis for this unconscionable action.

“The library community stands for diversity and inclusion, and for the legal rights of refugees entering on our borders. We serve immigrants in our communities across the US, and view libraries’ support to children as one of our most important values. We must support legislation and action that set aside this unacceptable practice.

“ALA, through its Office for Diversity, Literacy and Outreach Services and Washington Office, and in partnership with REFORMA, is providing and sharing resources that support action against this zero-tolerance immigration policy.

“This dire situation transcends partisan politics and requires immediate legislative and legal strategies to abolish this practice and seek to immediately reunite children with their parents and caregivers.

 “We can’t address this issue alone and ask ALA members, library supporters and educators to express their opposition to the ‘zero tolerance’ immigration policy by calling their legislators and demanding the halt of this cruel practice.”

Neal continued, “I also encourage libraries of all types to explore the vast resources ALA offers to help facilitate thoughtful discussions regarding this policy and leverage charitable resources to lend support to border families in need.  

“We express our sincere appreciation and stand in solidarity with those of like mind including ACLU, Al Otro Lado, Asylum Seeker Advocacy Project, Border Angels, CARA Family Detention Pro Bono Project, Immigrant Defender's Law Network , KIND (Kids in Need of Legal Defense), Pueblo Sin Fronteras, REFORMA: Children in Crisis, Refugee and Immigrant Center for Education and Legal ServicesTexas Civil Rights Project, The Florence Project and Refugee Rights Project, The Leadership Conference on Civil and Human Rights, The Young Center of Children's Immigrant Rights, and Together Rising.”

For additional information and resources please visit ALA’s Libraries Respond webpage.

The American Library Association (ALA) is the foremost national organization providing resources to inspire library and information professionals to transform their communities through essential programs and services. For more than 140 years, the ALA has been the trusted voice for academic, public, school, government and special libraries, advocating for the profession and the library’s role in enhancing learning and ensuring access to information for all. For more information, visit