Commentary: WASHINGTON — U.S. Senators Tom Udall and Martin Heinrich joined a group of senators in condemning the Trump administration’s proposal to separate immigrant children from their parents upon arrival in the United States. The senators asked Department of Homeland Security Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen to unequivocally reject this measure.
“We believe that a systematic and blanket policy to separate a child from a parent would likely violate the constitutional rights of the parents, violate the spirit of the Flores Agreement, inflict significant trauma on small children, create additional unnecessary due process obstacles to accessing a meaningful day in court, is contrary to arguments the Department of Justice has made before federal courts in the past, and is grotesquely inhumane,” wrote the senators.
The senators continued, “Further, we are deeply concerned that DHS may already be carrying out such a policy. In one recent case, a one-year-old child was separated from his father. The child was placed in a children’s shelter in Texas while the father was detained in an adult facility in San Diego. Numerous other cases in which parents have been separated from their children have been documented. It is unconscionable that the department would consider tearing these children away from their parents, deliberately agonizing children and parents alike.”
The letter was led by U.S. Senators Kamala Harris (D-Calif.), Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.), Patty Murray (D-Wash.), and Robert Menendez (D-N.J.). In addition to Udall and Heinrich, the letter was signed by U.S. Senators Ed Markey (D-Mass.), Kirsten Gillibrand (D-N.Y.), Cory Booker (D-N.J.), Tina Smith (D-Minn.), Brian Schatz (D-Hawaii), Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.), Catherine Cortez Masto (D-Nev.), Bob Casey (D-Pa.), Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.), Tammy Baldwin (D-Wis.), Mazie Hirono (D-Hawaii), Ben Cardin (D-Md.), Chris Murphy (D-Conn.), Sheldon Whitehouse (D-R.I.), Tim Kaine (D-Va.), Richard Blumenthal (D-Conn.), Tammy Duckworth (D-Ill.), Dick Durbin (D-Ill.), Chris Van Hollen (D-Md.), Michael Bennet (D-Colo.), Pat Leahy (D-Vt.), Amy Klobuchar (D-Minn.), Chris Coons (D-Del.), Sherrod Brown (D-Ohio), Ron Wyden (D-Ore.), Jack Reed (D-R.I.), and Maria Cantwell (D-Wash.).
The full text of the letter can be found here.