U.S. Senators Kamala D. Harris (D-Calif.), Catherine Cortez Masto (D-Nev.), Richard Blumenthal (D-Conn.) and Jeff Merkley (D-Ore.) on March 26th, sent a letter to Department of Homeland Security Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen demanding the reunification of 17 immigrant parents deported under the Trump Administration’s zero tolerance policy with their children.
“It is imperative that these parents be released, reunited with their children, and allowed to continue their cases in immigration court,” the senators wrote. “These families have already suffered significant trauma at the hands of the U.S. government. Given the grave risks to the health and wellbeing of these children and families, we urge you not to prolong their separation.”
Earlier this month, 29 previously removed parents arrived at the Calexico Port of Entry seeking asylum and to be reunited with their children. Seventeen remain in detention three weeks later.
“We are aware of 29 parents who were forcibly separated from their children in the spring and summer of 2018 and who presented themselves at the Calexico Port of Entry on March 2, 2019. Representatives for these parents have informed us that these parents legally requested asylum consistent with our immigration laws and obligations under international treaties. Each of these individuals has a sponsor in the United States and legal representation. Additionally, it is our understanding that each of these parents was deported without their children, very often under suspect circumstances in which they were pressured into signing documents they did not understand or misled about their options for reunification,” stated the senators.
“This administration has caused immense harm to these children and families. We ask you to expeditiously work to mitigate those harms and to uphold our nation’s highest values as you carry out your mission. We look forward to a prompt response.”
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