Speak up to reunite families seeking asylum at the border and end family detention

Written by: Children's Campaign
Date Posted: June 22, 2018

The trauma experienced by children and families seeking a better life in our county in recent weeks isn’t over. Thousands of babies, young children and teens remain in the custody of our government and separated from their families. If we want to live in a country where our own children feel safe and loved, then we must make it true for every child in our care—no matter their country of origin.

The executive order President Trump signed this week will not fix what his administration started. Children remain in prison. And moving forward, every child held in detention—even with their families—will experience trauma and pain that will leave a toxic imprint on their development.

Your voice is needed. Tell your members of Congress to fight to reunify families who have been separated and support legislation to permanently stop the separation of families.

On Wednesday, President Trump signed an Executive Order to keep families who cross U.S. borders without documentation together. For now, children will stay with their parents in detention. However the Executive Order is only temporary and fails to address the reunification of the 2,300 children and their families who are currently in crisis. The Executive Order also keeps the zero tolerance policy in place, which means any adult caught crossing the border will be prosecuted with a misdemeanor and families will now be held together in federal custody pending the trial. There’s a great deal of uncertainty among experts about how long families can be detained together, but immigrant advocates worry that the Trump Administration is laying the groundwork for indefinite detention. Medical professionals and experts in child welfare agree that family prisons and family detention settings are also harmful for children long-term.

Your voice is still needed to ensure that the current decision isn’t reversed, and to advocate for legislative solutions that keep children safe.  The Trump Administration reiterated that Congress should provide a legislative fix. Homeland Security Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen even told lawmakers during a private briefing that the family separations could resume if Congress fails to act. Keep families together by calling your legislator to demand that he or she support legislation to permanently end this practice. Let’s keep up the momentum to ensure no kids in the future face this trauma.

Please call Senators Gardner and Bennet today and urge them to keep families together and encourage their support of S.3036 – Keep Families Together Act. Young children and their families need a legislative solution and not just an impermanent Executive Order to ensure they are not separated at the border.

You can also get more involved in the fight to keep families together in more ways:

How we got here

The Trump administration’s ‘Zero tolerance’ policy on immigration has been tearing families apart. Federal officials at the U.S.-Mexico border have separated nearly 2,300 children from their families since this new policy was implemented in early May. The Associated Press reported that this policy has included sending babies and other very young children, forcibly separated from their parents at the U.S.-Mexico border, to at least three “tender age” shelters in South Texas. The government plans to open a fourth shelter to house hundreds of young migrant children in Houston, where city leaders denounced the move Tuesday.

Experts and child advocates, including the Colorado Children’s Campaign, condemn the policy, warning that this will cause irreparable harm to children who are separated from their families. Lawyers and medical providers who have visited the Rio Grande Valley shelters described play rooms of crying preschool-age children in crisis.

The Colorado Children’s Campaign joins the chorus of bipartisan voices expressing concern that the Department of Homeland Security is inflicting permanent harm on children by taking them from their parents with the stated intent to deter or punish parents and children who come to our border seeking protection.

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About Children's Campaign

The Colorado Children’s Campaign is a nonprofit, nonpartisan advocacy organization committed since 1985 to realizing every chance for every child in Colorado. We advocate for the development and implementation of data-driven public policies that improve child wellbeing in health, education and early childhood. We do this by providing Coloradans with trusted data and research on child wellbeing and organizing an extensive state-wide network of dedicated child advocates. For more information, please visit www.coloradokids.org.