Lucille Roybal-Allard and Norma Torres Aiming to Stop Family Separations and Protect Children
It has been a year since Donald Trump signed an executive order overturning his own policy of separating migrant children from their families at the U.S. southern border, which resulted in more than 2,800 children being detained and held in centers away from family. But in the 12 months since the policy reversal, another 700 children have been separated from their parents or family members and put into foster care or inhumane camps without basic sanitary necessities like toothbrushes, diapers, and soap. Congresswoman Lucille Roybal-Allard (D-CA) wants to stop the practice of unnecessary family separations with two new bills she introduced on Tuesday. The Help Separated Families Act, which she introduced with Congresswoman Norma J. Torres (D-CA), would take new steps to prevent the permanent separation of children from their immigrant parents, including helping to ensure that these children can remain with other family members while their parents are detained or deported, and strengthening the likelihood that the children can ultimately be reunited with their parents. Roybal-Allard's Humane Enforcement and Legal Protection (HELP) for Separated Children Act seeks to reduce the devastating trauma inflicted on the children who are torn away from their parents by immigration officials by letting parents communicate with their children before being separated and while the parents are in ICE detention. It would also require ICE to consider the best interests of the children in the detention, release, or transfer of their parents. “As President Trump threatens to carry out a new wave of ICE raids that will lead to further heartrending separations of immigrant families, it is vital that we fight to keep families together, and support the children who are being torn from their families by this administration’s despicable family separation policies,” said Roybal-Allard. Torres added, “We should be doing everything in our power to minimize their trauma and ensure they are welcomed into the arms of a loving parent or guardian.” There are currently over five million children in the U.S. living with at least one unauthorized immigrant parent. The vast majority of these children are U.S. citizens. When parents facing detention are not given the opportunity to make arrangements for the care of their children, in addition to the avoidable trauma, the kids are needlessly taken into the custody of state or local child welfare agencies. More here.