Washington, DC – U.S. Senator Sheldon Whitehouse (D-RI), a member of the Senate Judiciary Committee, released the following statement on the Trump administration’s proposal today to detain immigrant children and their families indefinitely:
“Detaining children indefinitely is not legal, it is not ethical, and it is not American. President Trump and his administration should have learned from the outpouring of public outrage and empathy after their first failed attempt. This proposal will fail, too. American values and the rule of law will win in the end.”
The Department of Homeland Security and the Department of Health and Human Services are proposing a rule that would circumvent a long-standing federal settlement agreement limiting the detention of immigrant children to 20 days. Under the new rule, Immigration and Customs Enforcement would be allowed to hold immigrant children with their families in detention facilities indefinitely.
The move follows action by the Trump administration earlier this year to separate migrant families at the border and detain children without their parents. The separation policy triggered widespread outcry, including from child welfare experts like pediatricians, who cited the substantial risk of harmful, long-term health and emotional consequences for children.