WASHINGTON, D.C. – Today, Representatives Jackie Speier (CA-14), Lucille Roybal-Allard (CA-40), Pramila Jayapal (WA-07), Lois Frankel (FL-21), Brenda Lawrence (MI-14), and 62 of their Democratic colleagues sent a letter to the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) urging the Secretary to take immediate action to reunite families that remain separated because of the Trump Administration’s cruel “zero-tolerance” policy.
In the letter to DHS Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen, the Members expressed concern that hundreds of children could face long-term separation from their families, and severe physical and emotional health consequences, unless the Administration reduces barriers to reunification. The Members also urged DHS to address credible reports that many parents agreed to deportation, relinquished asylum claims, or waived their rights to reunification under misleading or coercive conditions.
“No child’s health or wellbeing should be endangered because the government fails to reunite the families that it separated,” said the Members. “We call upon DHS to limit the damage inflicted upon these children by offering humanitarian parole to parents who have been removed from the country, staying the removal of parents who have waived their reunification rights, and assuming a presumption of reunification for families with a parent that has been found ineligible.”
In June, Congresswoman Speier led a delegation of 25 of her colleagues to South Texas to investigate immigration facilities and child welfare centers that house separated families. Last month, the Congresswoman and a number of her colleagues sent two separate letters to DHS and the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) demanding answers on the Administration’s handling of the family separation crisis. Neither DHS nor HHS has responded.
A copy of the letter can be found here.