In a pair of letters on Thursday, Democrats from both the House and Senate demanded the Trump administration immediately end its policy of tearing migrant children away from their parents at the U.S. border, a practice that has provoked nationwide protests and which human rights advocates across the globe have denounced as “cruel” and “evil.”
“Family separation re-traumatizes parents and children escaping harrowing danger, and it ignores the reality that many of these parents and children have valid claims for relief.”
—111 U.S. House Democrats
Democratic Reps. Pramila Jayapal (Wash.), Bennie G. Thompson (Miss.), and Zoe Lofgren (Calif.)—joined by 108 of their congressional colleagues—sent a letter to the top two members of the House Subcommittee on Homeland Security on Appropriations to urge them to bar the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) from using future appropriated funding to enforce the “inhumane” policy.
“Many parents arrive at our borders with their children to seek protection—a lawful act,” the letter notes. “Family separation re-traumatizes parents and children escaping harrowing danger, and it ignores the reality that many of these parents and children have valid claims for relief.” The Trump administration’s “misguided attempt to reduce these numbers” through this policy, it declares, is “destined to fail.”
The letter emphasizes that “the solution to the cruel inhumanity of family separation cannot be the alternative—and costly—cruelty of family detention,” especially considering that even DHS has concluded that “it is never in the best interests of a child to be detained because of immigration status.”
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In addition to their demand that the forthcoming DHS appropriations bill explicity restrict the agency from using congressional funds to carry out the family separation policy, the letter also requests funding to restore the now-terminated Family Case Management Program as an alternative to detention.
Meanwhile, in the Senate, 38 Democrats and both Independents, led by Sen. Ron Wyden (Ore.), sent a letter directly to President Donald Trump to pressure him to walk back the policy, pointing out that it “has lasting, harmful, and traumatizing impacts” on the detained children.
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