Rep. Michael E. Capuano Files Legislation to Reunite Separated Families

Rep. Michael E. Capuano has filed the “Reunite Separated Families Act of 2018” which would halt the deportation of families at the border, require the Trump administration to reunite separated parents and children immediately and report to Congress on its efforts to remedy the suffering created by their immoral policy.

“I recently spent time in Texas, talking with children who have been separated from their parents and it broke my heart. I saw children in cages and half empty boxes of diapers which illustrate in stark terms just how young some of these children are. Congress must ensure that something like this never happens again. Separating children from their parents is an immoral and cruel policy that will inflict life-long damage on the traumatized children. We should all be outraged by this,” said Rep. Capuano.

The legislation directs the Trump administration and federal agencies to reunify children and their parents within 30 days and report to Congress within 60 days with details on how the family reunification process is being implemented. The Trump administration must also report to Congress on the conditions under which minors are being held and how officials are working to facilitate communication between separated children and their families.

Although a court has ordered the administration to reunite families by today, that deadline is not being met and the administration continues to drag its feet, insisting on “vetting” mothers for their suitability to care for the children snatched from them. Moreover, there is nothing to prevent the Administration from reinstituting this family separation policy at some point in the future.

“I am appalled by the lack of information coming from this administration about the actions they are taking to right the wrong they created. It is imperative that federal officials provide detailed information on their efforts to reunite families and furnish a thorough account of the care provided to children in custody,” stated Rep. Capuano.

Rep. Capuano’s legislation also directs the Secretary of Health and Human Services to work with the American Academy of Pediatrics and other appropriate organizations to address the psycho-social needs of children who have been separated from their families and detained. The legislation requires that the appropriate federal agencies provide housing for families during any period in which an adult or child is detained so that minors can remain with their parents.

“There shouldn’t be any need for this legislation, yet the President’s cruel policy and the carelessness with which it has been implemented, has made it essential,” stated Rep. Capuano.

The following Members of Congress have signed on as original co-sponsors: Rep. Katherine Clark (D-MA), Rep. Lou Correa (D-CA), Rep. William Keating (D-MA), Rep. Jim McGovern (D-MA), Rep. Grace Meng (D-NY) and Rep. Niki Tsongas (D-MA). The legislation can be reviewed here.

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