We, former U.S. Ambassadors, urge the Trump Administration to follow through on the
President’s announced plans — under substantial public outrage and pressure — to end its policy of forcibly separating children from their parents at the border.

This cruel and inhumane practice, including placing toddlers and babies in “tender age” facilities, is inflicting an unimaginable level of emotional suffering and permanent scarring on the most innocent.

It does not serve our national security interests nor the values we were sworn to uphold and defend.

Stopping the abuse will not be adequate. Separated families must be quickly reunited and assistance offered to help the children, where possible.

Signatories to this letter have represented America’s interests and values at many embassies, consulates, foreign missions and federal agencies in Washington and around the world.We have served Republican and Democratic presidents, always with the goal of advancing America’s interests and supporting its values, including keeping our borders secure and ensuring that immigration into our country is orderly, safe, legal and fair.

Separating children flies in the face of the work many of us have done as Ambassadors to bring families together. Working with officials in other countries, our consular officers serving abroad often work to reunite children with their parents and families. For example, in Mexico, the destination for the largest number of “absconding parents” who travel there with their children to evade judicial decisions, the U.S. Embassy has reunited hundreds of legally entitled American parents with their minor children with the help of Mexican authorities.

We are also deeply concerned that headlines around the world about children in “cages” and the United Nations human rights chief’s condemnation of the acts as “unconscionable” are diminishing our reputation across the world, particularly given America’s long history of standing up strongly for the protection of universal human rights and rule of law. The Administration policy of pulling children from parents will ultimately generate more anti- American sentiment and make it harder to persuade other countries to join us in pursuing common goals that benefit American citizens’ security and prosperity.

Moreover, the policy of forcibly separating children turns back the clock to some of the ugliest chapters in our nation’s history. It was common to break up families when slaves were sold at auction, and children of slave mothers were often taken when their fathers were white slave masters. Frederick Douglass is the most famous example of this despicable practice. Children in Native American families were also taken from their parents and put into Christian schools.

We look back on these practices with great shame–as we will those of today.
Beginning immediately, the Administration should ensure its Immigration practices at the border no longer involve traumatizing children. But to address the source of the problem, the United States must develop a policy that enlists countries in the region, including Canada and Mexico, in a common effort to improve conditions that are driving these desperate migrants, many of whom are mothers seeking to escape gang violence and domestic abuse. Efforts such as these have proven effective in the past.
As foreign policy professionals, we urge President Trump and members of his administration to end the barbarism now underway, return children to their parents and engage in a serious debate about how to ensure that government agencies carry out immigration policies in a manner that adheres to our values and standards of decency.


Nina Hachigian, former Ambassador to the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ret.)
Vicki Huddleston, former Ambassador to Madagascar and Mali
June Carter Perry, former Ambassador to Lesotho and Sierra Leone
Nancy McEldowney former Ambassador to Bulgaria and Director of the Foreign Service Institute
Heather Hodges, former Ambassador to Moldova and Ecuador
Beth Jones, former Assistant Secretary of State for Europe and Eurasia, former Ambassador to
Robin L. Raphel, former Ambassador to Tunisia
Pamela Hamamoto, former Ambassador to the United Nations in Geneva
Mary C Yates, former Ambassador to Ghana and to Burundi
Linda Jewell, former Ambassador to Ecuador
Suzan LeVine, Ambassador to the Swiss Confederation and the Principality of Liechenstein (Ret.)
Robin L. Raphel, former Ambassador to Tunisia
Prudence Bushnell. Former Ambassador to Kenya & Guatemala
Teresita C. Schaffer, former Ambassador to Sri Lanka
Laura E. Kennedy, former Ambassador to Turkmenistan and to the Conference on
Susan E. Rice, former National Security Advisor and U.S. Permanent Representative to the
United Nations
Mosina H. Jordan, former Ambassador to The Central African Republic
Wendy Chamberlin, Ambassador retired
Harriet L. Elam-Thomas, former Ambassador (Ret.)
Mattie R. Sharpless (Ret.), Former U.S. Ambassador, Central African Republic
Crystal Nix-Hines, former Ambassador to the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural
Organization (UNESCO)
Laurie S. Fulton, former Ambassador to Denmark
Dana Shell Smith, former Ambassador to the State of Qatar
Elinor Constable, former Assistant Secretary of State and Ambassador to Kenya
Robin L. Raphel, former Ambassador to Tunisia
Linda Thomas-Greenfield Former Assistant Secretary for African Affairs and former
Ambassador to Liberia
Denise Campbell Bauer, former Ambassador to Belgium

Deborah K. Jones, former Ambassador to Kuwait and Libya
Janet A Sanderson, former Ambassador to Algeria and to Haiti
Deborah McCarthy, former Ambassador to Lithuania
Carmen Lomellin, former Ambassador to the OAS
Diane E.Watson, Former Ambassador to Micronesia
Michelle D. Gavin, former Ambassador to Botswana
Tim Broas, former Ambassador to the Netherlands
Karen Kornbluh, former Ambassador to the Organization for Economic Cooperation and
Development (OECD)
Mark D Gilbert, former Ambassador to New Zealand and the Independent State of Samoa
Betty King, Former Ambassador to UN Geneva
Michael A. Battle, former Ambassador (ret.)
Alan Solomont, former Ambassador to Spain and Andorra
Noah B. Mamet, former Ambassador to Argentina
Barry B White, former Ambassador to the Kingdom of Norway
Alexa L. Wesner, Former Ambassador to the Republic of Austria
Bruce Heyman former Ambassador to Canada
Michael A. Battle U.S. Ambassador to the African Union (2009-2013)
Daniel B. Shapiro, former Ambassador to Israel
Robert A. Sherman former Ambassador to Portugal
Ruth A. Davis (Ret.) former Director General of the Foreign Service and Ambassador to the
Republic of Benin
Eileen A. Malloy, Former U.S. Ambassador to Kyrgyzstan
Samuel D. Heins, Former Ambassador to Norway
Theodore Sedgwick, former Ambassador
Derek Sheaer, former Ambassador to Finland
Miguel H. Diaz, former U.S. Ambassador to the Holy See
Kevin F. O’Malley United States Ambassador to Ireland (ret.)
Lisa Kubiske, former US Ambassador to Honduras (ret.)
Azita Raji, former ambassador to Sweden
Pamela Hamamoto, former Ambassador to the United Nations in Geneva
Robert S. Gelbard, former Ambassador to Indonesia and Bolivia
Frank Almaguer, former US Ambassador to Honduras
Aurelia E. Brazeal, former Ambassador to The Federated States of Micronesia, to Kenya and to
Mary Burce Warlick, former Ambassador to Serbia
Lee Feinstein, former Ambassador to Poland
Eleni Kounalakis, former US Ambassador to Hungary
James (Wally) Brewster, former US Ambassador to the Dominican Republic
Maureen Quinn, Ambassador (ret.)
Fay Hartog- Levin, Former Ambassador to the Netherlands
Bruce Oreck, Former United States Ambassador to Finland
Gordon Gray, former U.S. Ambassador to Tunisia
Bruce Heyman, former Ambassador to Canada

Jeff Bleich, U.S. Ambassador to Australia (ret.)
Gina Abercrombie-Winstanley, former Ambassador (ret.)
Daniel Yohannes former Ambassador to the Organization for Economic Cooperation and
Barbara Bodine, former Ambassador to Yemen (ret.)
Keith M. Harper, United States Ambassador (ret.) and Permanent Representative to the UN
Human Rights Council
John L. Estrada, former US Ambassador to Trinidad and Tobago (ret.)
Thomas Krajeski, former Ambassador to Yemen and Bahrain
Derek Mitchell, former Ambassador to Burma (Myanmar)
Nancy Ely-Raphel, former Ambassador to Slovenia
Norman Eisen, former Ambassador to the Czech Republic
A. Peter Burleigh, former Ambassador to the United Nations, Sri Lanka and the Maldives and
Coordinator/Ambassador for Counter-Terrorism
Melanne Verveer, former U.S. Ambassador for Global Women’s Issues
Marcelle M. Wahba, former U.S. Ambassador to the UAE (ret.)
Anne Slaughter Andrew,former Ambassador to Costa Rica
A. Ellen Shippy, former Ambassador to Malawi
Ertharin Cousin, former Ambassador to the U.N Agencies for Food and Agriculture
Patricia M. Hawkins, former Ambassador to the Togolese Replubic
Colleen Bell, former U.S. Ambassador to Hungary
Davis T. Killion, former U.S. Ambassador to UNESCO
Judith Cefkin (Ret.), former Ambassador to Fiji, Kiribati, Nauru, Tonga, and Tuvalu
James Keith, former Ambassador (ret.)
Sue K. Brown, former US Ambassador to Montenegro (ret.)
Kirk Wagar, former Ambassador to the Republic of Singapore
Cynthia H. Akuetteh, former Ambassador to Gabon and Sao Tome and Principe
Cynthia Stroum, former Ambassador to Luxembourg
Leslie Bassett, former U.S. ambassador to Paraguay
Dawn Liberi, former U. S. Ambassador to Burundi
Mark Childress, former Ambassador to Tanzania
Joseph R. Paolino ,Jr. former US Ambassador to Malta
Laurence Pope, former Ambassador to Chad
Jo Ellen Powell, former US Ambassador to the Islamic Republic of Mauritania
Helen Reed-Rowe, U.S. Ambassador (ret.)
Andrew H. Schapiro, former Ambassador to the Czech Republic
Doria Rosen, former U.S. Ambassador to the Federated States of Micronesia (ret.)
Robert F. Cekuta, former Ambassador to Azerbaijan
Joyce E. Leader, former U.S. Ambassador to the Republic of Guinea
Daniel Baer, former Ambassador to the OSCE
David Mckean, former ambassador to Luxembourg
Dwight L Bush, former Ambassador to The Kingdom of Morocco
Sylvia Stanfield, former Ambassador to Brunei Darussalam
Peter F. Romero, former Ambassador to Ecuador and Assistant Scretary of State

John Feeley, former US Ambassador to Panama
Robert M. Orr, former U.S. Ambassador to the Asian Development Bank
Janice Jacobs, former Assistant Secretary for Consular Affairs and Ambassador to Senegal and
Guinea-Bissau,Diplomat in Residence, Princeton University.
Dr. Robin R. Sanders, former US Ambassador Nigeria, Congo, ECOWAS
Eric J. Boswell, former Assistant Secretary of State for Diplomatic Security
James Costoa, former U.S. Ambassador to Spain and Andorra