By Tom Udall Press Office
WASHINGTON – U.S. Senators Tom Udall and Martin Heinrich, along with 40 other Democratic senators, introduced legislation to keep immigrant families together and prevent the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) from taking children from their parents at the border. The Keep Families Together Act would prohibit the separation of children from their parents or legal guardians at or near ports of entry or within 100 miles of the border, unless they are being trafficked or abused by their parents. The legislation was developed in consultation with child welfare experts to ensure the federal government is acting in the best interest of children and is supported by the American Academy of Pediatrics, Kids In Need of Defense (KIND), Children’s Law Center, Young Center for Immigrant Rights, and the Women’s Refugee Commission.
In June 2018, Udall and Heinrich traveled to the border to visit Tornillo, Texas, where they examined a temporary tent facility housing children, many of whom had been separated from their parents as a result the Trump administration’s family separation policy. They witnessed firsthand the devastating consequences of a ‘zero-tolerance’ approach, and demanded that the administration immediately reunite separated children with their families. Udall and Heinrich also urged greater Congressional oversight into the Trump administration’s plans to reunite families, and fought to hold the Trump administration accountable for its family separation policy.