PROVIDENCE, RI – U.S. Senators Jack Reed and Sheldon Whitehouse are joining with
Rhode Islanders in calling on the Trump Administration to end the policy of
involuntarily separating children form their migrant mothers and fathers at the
U.S.-Mexico border. Senators Reed and Whitehouse say that no law requires
migrant families be separated at the border and pediatricians have argued that
President Trump’s policy of doing so can have harmful health and emotional
consequences for children.
On Monday, June 11 at 11:00 a.m., Reed
and Whitehouse will meet with community leaders, pediatricians, and immigration
advocates at the Dorcas International Institute of Rhode Island. Dorcas
International is the largest and longest-running legal immigration service in
Rhode Island and provides support to immigrants and refugees throughout the
Reed and Whitehouse are teaming up with U.S.
Senator Dianne Feinstein (D-CA) on new legislation that would keep immigrant
families together, and prevent the Department of Homeland Security from taking
children from their parents at the border. The Keep Families Together Act would
only permit the Department to separate families under a court order or to
protect a child from serious harm. It would end the Trump
Administration’s stated policy of using family separation to deter migration.
Both the American Academy of Pediatrics and
the American College of Physicians have expressed opposition to the Trump
Administration’s decision to separate families, acknowledging that the U.S.
government has the right to control who enters its borders, but, as the
American College of Physicians stated: “a policy of universally separating
children from their parents entering U.S. borders will do great harm to
children, their parents, and their families.” While the American
Academy of Pediatrics notes that separating children from parents: “contradicts
everything we stand for as pediatricians — protecting and promoting children’s
health. In fact, highly stressful experiences can cause irreparable harm,
disrupting a child's brain architecture and affecting his or her short and
Senators Reed and Whitehouse say Congress
needs to take bipartisan action to protect children as well vote on bipartisan
comprehensive immigration reform proposals.