Separating Families

Stop Families Being Separated at the Border & Investigate Detention Centers

Actions we can take: Google doc.
Sen. Murray is the top Democrat on the Appropriations subcommittee that funds HHS.
In Appropriations, it is the Labor, Health and Human Services, Education, and Related Agencies Committee: Appropriations.Senate.gov.

Who We Can Contact

Ask for hearings about this immediately in the judiciary committee.
Contact Chuck Grassley, head of the Senate Judiciary Committee:
Email: https://www.grassley.senate.gov/constituents/questions-and-comments.
In DC: Call: (202) 224-3744 or Fax: (202) 224-6020

Contact Republicans in the committee

Families Will Stay Separated

“(Azar) told the Senate Finance Committee that if lawmakers find a legislative fix to a court ruling that bars children from being held in detention centers for longer than 20 days, then the families could be reunited immediately.”: WaPo.com. In other words, the parents are facing criminal charges for coming into the country: and their children will need to be in prison as well if the family wants to be together. This is caused by the ‘zero tolerance’ policy of this administration: PolitiFact.com.

The Flores Rule
“A 2015 court order, based on a document called the Flores settlement, prevents the government from keeping migrant children in detention for more than 20 days.”: NPR.org.

Feinstein’s Bill

S. 3036: Keep Families Together Act
“The bill prohibits federal agencies from removing a child without legal immigration status from their parent or legal guardian within 100 miles of the U.S. border.”: Columbian.com … 48 Democrat senators have cosponsored the bill.

Lawsuit to End This

Led by AG Ferguson of WA, 17 states and DC are suing to end the family separations: Independent.co.uk.

Letter From 48 Senators to the Senate Judiciary Committee

6/22/18: ‘The Trump Administration’s ‘zero-tolerance’ policy “is responsible for hundreds of children being forcibly separated from their families, falsely labeled ‘unaccompanied alien children,’ and transferred to the custody of the Department of Health and Human Services’ Office of Refugee Resettlement,” the senators wrote in a letter to Judiciary Committee Chairman Chuck Grassley. “This cruel treatment of children and families arriving to the United States demands immediate and direct Congressional oversight.”’. More: Murray.Senate.gov.

6/22/18: “HHS has … failed to provide estimates of additional funding that will likely be needed to provide adequate care for the children in its custody,” Murray said in a letter to Azar.”: RollCall.com.
Azar’s email address: Secretary@HHS.gov Call: 202-690-7000

Sen. Murray’s Reactions to The Policy

5/10/18: “Congresswoman Rosa DeLauro (CT-03) and Senator Patty Murray (D-WA) sent a letter to United States Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) Secretary Alex Azar urging him to immediately fire Office of Refugee Resettlement (ORR) Director Scott Lloyd”: DeLauro.House.gov.

6/12/18: at 6.25 Sen. Murray expresses her anger about this to Azar in a hearing about prescription prices: YouTube.com.

6/20/18: Senator Murray on President Trump’s Executive Order on Family Separation Policy: “It’s not enough. We are not going to say everything is OK, and we are not going to stay quiet”

6/21/18: Senator Murray Demands Answers From Trump Health Secretary Azar on Safety, Reunification of Separated Children

6/22/18: Senator Murray, Cantwell Call for Senate Hearings on Trump Administration’s Treatment of Migrant Children
Links to these: Murray.Senate.gov.

Sen. Merkley is working on a bill to stop families being separated at the southern border. The families are separated because the parents are placed in prison awaiting hearings: and the children cannot be in prison. His statement about his findings so far: Merkley.Senate.gov.

Sen. Merkley at the Detention Center

The video he made at the Texas detention center: FB: 24 mins.
This Southwest Key Programs (SKP) center is in Brownsville, Texas.

“Merkley claimed he saw children in “cages” similar to those in a 2014 image recently circulated across social media — people sleeping on concrete floors, wire fencing, with only thin “space blankets” as to cover them.
“Yesterday morning at the McAllen Border Station, at the processing center, they have big cages made out of fencing and wire and nets stretched across the top of them so people can’t climb out of them,” the senator said. “Every time I probed yesterday on the circumstances (of why they were held this way) the response was just basically a generic, ‘That is what’s required for security, this is what is required for control.'”: CNN.com.


Fact checker from WaPo: WaPo.com.

“Why is Juan Sánchez paid $770,860 to house children ripped from their families in a Wal-Mart in Brownsville?” & “the department has awarded SKP a combined total of $310,824,288 in fiscal year 2018 so far, with the most recent awards being granted on May 10 in three installments amounting to $99,679,090.”: Yahoo.com.

Trump Accuses Dems of Separating Families

Trump Yelled at HHS Secretary

“Kirstjen Nielsen, the homeland security secretary, told colleagues she was close to resigning after President Trump berated her on Wednesday in front of the entire cabinet for what he said was her failure to adequately secure the nation’s borders”: NYTimes.com.

There Aren’t More Deportations

“although immigration arrests are up, a burgeoning backlog in U.S. immigration courts has slowed the removal of immigrants who claim they will be harmed if they are deported to their home countries.”: Reuters.com.

We Want Our Senators to be More Outspoken

There was a protest June 4th at the detention center in Tacoma: FB.com; and one on Tuesday morning in downtown Seattle: TheStranger.com. 9 people were arrested at that one. It was against the youth detention center.
We feel that 40 US senators should have been there when Merkley was at the Texas detention center: or the democrats will always be in the minority. We want our senators to be more vocal to the press.

What Our Senators Can Do

There is no special committee to look into it because it is under the HHS. The lack of recess time in August also takes time away from the senators: that they could have used looking into detention centers.

The minority could ask for an investigation by the Department of Justice: and Sen. Murray can continue to call for the resignation of the head of the ORR. There have been some tough conversations about pregnant teens and women in detention: CNN.com.

This is a human rights emergency.

Who is in Charge? Where Do They Go?

When families are separated it is managed by the Office of Refugee Resettlement. Their program for handing unaccompanied minors: ACF.HHS.gov. FAQs about the treatment of unaccompanied minors: ACF.HHS.gov. They try to find the best place for the children. First, they try to place them with their immediate family in the US. If not, with an extended family or family friend. They sometimes have to pass the children to other organizations for care.

Where Immigrant Children Can Be Held

The Lutheran Church is very involved: ELCA.org. More about the problems and solutions: NYTimes.com. The Trump administration might hold children caught crossing border on military bases: CNN.com. Another option is the foster care system, which is already overstretched: “About 520,000 … end up in foster care each year — double the number 25 years ago.”: ABCNews.Go.com.

Scott Lloyd’s Abuse of Power

Scott Lloyd is the Federal Director of the Office of Refugee Resettlement.
3/1/18: “The Trump administration’s policy of halting abortions among undocumented minors was established by email through an ad hoc process without formal legal vetting,”: Politico.com. The ACLU has challenged and publicized this. Sen. Murray’s statement on this: Murray.Senate.gov.

3/14/18: Sen. Murray joins multiple Democrats in calling for his resignation / firing: HELP.Senate.gov.