Ruppersberger Announces Strategy to End Family Separation at the Border
(Washington, D.C.) – Congressman Dutch Ruppersberger today announced a legislative strategy to stop border agents from separating children and parents at the United States border. An Appropriator, Ruppersberger will submit language preventing the Administration from using funds allocated to the Department of Homeland Security to separate immigrant families after apprehension, absent an immediate threat from the caretaker to the child.
The proposal aims to encourage alternatives such as the now-terminated family case management program, ankle bracelets or the parole system, and family detention centers as a last resort.
“As a father and grandfather, I can’t imagine anything more horrific than a child being ripped from his or her parent’s arms. This is an atrocity that contradicts everything we stand for as Americans,” Congressman Ruppersberger said. “Under no circumstance should a child be punished for the actions of an adult, especially when fleeing violence and poverty.”
“The President says he opposes family separation. If that’s the case, he can stop it today without changing any laws.”
Top White House officials have described family separation as a “tough deterrent” to illegal immigration. Since October 2017, at least 1,350 children have been separated from an accompanying adult, including more than 100 children under the age of four. More than 700 children were separated from their parent in May alone. A backlog has kept hundreds of children detained at border stations for longer than the 72-hour limit, according to the Administration for Children and Families.
The irreparable damage caused by the trauma and emotional stress of family separation – sometimes indefinitely – is well documented. Both the American Academy of Pediatrics and the American Medical Association have strongly condemned the practice.
The House Appropriations Committee is expected to consider the Department of Homeland Security funding bill next month.