A quick re-cap of the June newsletter Hot Topic “What About the Children?”
- Sessions issued a “Zero-Tolerance” policy. Per Sessions, this policy is to deter migrant families from crossing the border. Even if families are seeking asylum the parents will be taken to the Customs and Border Protection facility where their children will be removed from their custody. It is unclear how the children are being tracked and/or reunited with the parents once their parents cases are heard and adjudicated.
- Separate from this issue are the unaccompanied minors. Minors who cross the border without their parents are processed by the Office of Refugee Resettlement (ORR). It is unclear how the system is tracking their whereabouts once they are released to either foster care or other facilities.
- Senator Feinstein (D-CA) introduced S.3036 The Keep Families Together Act
What is of dire concern are the ages of the children being separated from their parents. Babies as young as 8 months old have been removed from their mothers and sent to one of three “Tender Age” facilities. Doctors visiting shelters in South Texas’ Rio Grande Valley said, “the facilities were fine, clean and safe, but the children — who have no idea where their parents are — were hysterical, crying and acting out. Many of them are under age 5, and some are so young they have not yet learned to talk.” – AP News
It’s highly questionable what the parents are being told about their child’s whereabouts once taken from their custody. It’s been reported that parents are told that their children are being taken for a bath and then not returned. This smacks of Nazi history repeating itself. It is also highly concerning how unaccompanied minors as well as those who are undocumented are being treated at secretive facilities unknown to the public. Almost daily there are reports of abuses from within the facilities and also within the foster care homes. – Children Allege Grave Abuse at Migrant Detention Centers
ORR states that children are typically placed on average within 57 days. ICE states that they have set up a hotline for adjudicated immigrants to call to help locate their children. However according to attorneys working for such cases, “there is no formal process or clear protocol for tracking parents and children within the system and that chaotic systems and inadequate record keeping make it difficult even to know which facility a child might be kept at.” – NPR
TAKE ACTION NOW
Call the following Senators and Congressman
Rep. Leonard Lance (R-NJ), Senator Pat Toomey (R-PA), Senator Collins (R-ME), Senator Lisa Murkowski (R-AK), Senator Jeff Flake (R-AZ), Senator John McCain (R-AZ) Rep. Paul Ryan (R-WI) and Senator Mitch McConnell (R-KY)
The following Senators from NJ and PA are in support of the Keep Families Together Act:Senator Cory Booker (D-NJ), Senator Bob Menendez (D-NJ), Senator Bob Casey (D-PA)
You can also send this message to your congressman and senators via Resistbot text “resist” to 50409.