CONGRESSWOMAN SHEILA JACKSON LEE AND HOUSE DEMOCRATS STAND WITH FAMILIES AND SUPPORT LEGISLATION TO PREVENT THE SEPARATION OF PARENTS AND CHILDREN AT THE BORDER
For Immediate Release Contact: Robin Chand
June 20, 2018 (202) 225–3816
Congresswoman Sheila Jackson Lee and House Democrats Stand with Families and Support Legislation to Prevent the Separation of Parents and Children at the Border
Jackson Lee: “When I visited the border this past weekend, what I witnessed was horrific. This is not the America I know and love and the Administration must cease and desist this inhumane and cruel policy. Congressional action is necessary in the face of the administration’s heartless actions. If enacted, the Keep Families Together Act would keep families together, limit criminal prosecution for asylum seekers, increase child welfare training, establish public policy preference for family reunification, add procedures for separated families, and establish other required measures.”
Washington, DC – Congresswoman Sheila Jackson Lee, a senior member of the House Committees on Judiciary, Budget, and Homeland Security, and Ranking Member of the House Judiciary Subcommittee on Crime, Terrorism, Homeland Security and Investigations, issued this statement following the introduction of legislation designed to end the senseless and inhumane policy of separating children from their parents at our southern border:
“There is a humanitarian crisis at our borders. The Trump Administration’s ‘zero tolerance’ immigration policy is directly, and shamefully, responsible for ripping families apart at the US-Mexico border. This policy has drawn near-universal condemnation. The American Academy of Pediatrics, the United States Conference of Bishops, and the Prime Minister of our closest ally, the United Kingdom, have all condemned the practice. They recognize what House Republicans and the President do not: separating children from their families has long-lasting consequences, many of which are not fully apparent until the children are much older. Unfortunately, many—including me—fear that it will then be too late, and the damage already done. The Keep Families Together Act seeks to fill this void and addresses the harm being done in our name at our southern border.
When I visited the border this past weekend, what I witnessed was horrific. This was not the America I know and love, and the Administration must cease and desist this inhumane and cruel policy. Congressional action is necessary in the face of the administration’s heartless actions and subsequent inaction. If enacted, the Keep Families Together Act would keep families together, limit criminal prosecution for asylum seekers, increase child welfare training, establish public policy preference for family reunification, add procedures for separated families, and establish other required measures.
“This bill promotes family unity by prioritizing keeping families together. It would prohibit the Department of Homeland Security from separating children from their parents except in extraordinary circumstances. The bill requires an independent child welfare agent official to review any such separation and return the child if no harm to the child is present. It also imposes financial penalties on officials who violate the ban on family separation. Customs and Border Protection officials and agents must also complete child welfare training annually, under the bill.
“The Keep Families Together Act, introduced by Representative Jerry Nadler, Ranking Member of the House Judiciary Committee, is a necessary solution to the President’s outrageously cruel ‘zero tolerance’ policy on immigration. Over the last six months, approximately 700 children have been taken from their families at the border. The Department of Homeland Security has reported that since then, at least 2,300 children have been separated from the ones they love. The Keep Families Together Act prioritizes family unity and I strongly support it. Under no circumstance can we allow the barbaric separation of families to continue. This policy is one of the most un-American policies implemented under the Trump Administration. I strongly support the Keep Families Together Act and urge all my colleagues to do so, too.”
Congresswoman Jackson Lee is a Democrat from Texas’s 18th Congressional District. She is a senior member of the House Committees on Judiciary, Homeland Security, and Budget and is Ranking Member of the Judiciary Subcommittee on Crime, Terrorism, Homeland Security, and Investigations.