Today, Senate Democrats, led by Senators Merkley, Schumer, Murray, Durbin, and Hirono, introduced the Stop Cruelty to Migrant Children Act- critical legislation with widespread support that will combat the abhorrent conditions facing children at our Southern border.
While new reports of children facing neglect at the border surface every day, President Trump and Senate Republicans choose to deny the inhumane conditions; disregard reports from the inspector general; and dismiss firsthand accounts of the atrocity at the border.
Democrats and the American people are outraged over horrifying reports of sexual assault, retaliation, overcrowding, and lack of hygiene in detention centers like Clint, Texas and Homestead, Florida.
And most disturbing is the blatant neglect of unaccompanied children left in dirty diapers, old clothes, without regular nutritious meals and left to take care of one another.
The Trump administration is responsible for the shameful and inhumane conditions facing immigrants at the border. These are not hardened criminals. These are families who faced persecution and degradation in their home countries, and fled seeking a better life for themselves and their children.
The safeguards and reforms in the Stop Cruelty to Migrant Children Act will end family separations, set minimum health and safety standards for children and families in Border Patrol Stations, end for-profit contractors, remove roadblocks to placing unaccompanied children with sponsors, ensure unaccompanied children have access to legal counsel, provide resources to non-profit centers, and allow Members of Congress access to oversight.
This legislation is crucial to end the harm that President Trump has caused to children and families at the border. Several weeks ago, we fought for these protections to be included in the emergency supplemental, but they were blocked by Leader McConnell.
Senate Democrats demand Leader McConnell stand up for immigrant children and work with us to pass these new standards into law. In the meantime, we call on the top officials of Customs and Border Protection to be fired and investigated for their conduct.
Let’s be clear: What President Trump is doing to children and families fleeing violence, murder, and extortion is wrong. It’s un-American.
We must stand up for the children and families at our border and show them what America truly stands for: Compassion and decency; morality and humanity; hope and freedom.