May 29, 2018

Kaine Joins Colleagues To Introduce Bill Protecting Children Separated From Parents By Immigration Authorities

WASHINGTON, D.C. – U.S. Senator Tim Kaine (D-VA) joined Tina Smith (D-MN) to introduce the Humane Enforcement and Legal Protections (HELP) for Separated Children Act to protect the safety and wellbeing of minor children who have been left alone after their parents have been arrested or detained by U.S. immigration authorities.

“The Trump Administration’s heartless policies tear apart immigrant families and cause undue harm on children who are stuck in the middle,” Kaine said. “This bill is an effort to protect children from unnecessary harm if they are forced to separate from their parents.”

The bill seeks to protect children who have been abandoned at home or at school after their parents’ detention, often without information about their parents’ location and without adequate arrangements for their care. Kaine is concerned about the Trump Administration’s enforcement operations that target immigrant families and separate children from their parents during enforcement operations.

The HELP Separated Children Act’s protections include: 

·         Allowing parents to make calls to arrange for the care of their children and ensuring that children can call and visit their parents while they are detained;

·         Allowing parents to participate in family court proceedings affecting their children;

·         Protecting children from being compelled to serve as translators for their parents in immigration enforcement actions;

·         Ensuring that parents can coordinate their departures with their children, and allowing parents to say goodbye to their children prior to being taken into custody; and

·         Requiring ICE to consider the best interests of children in detention, release, and transfer decisions affecting their parents.

You can access text of the legislation here.

In addition to Kaine and Smith, the bill is co-sponsored by Senators Richard Blumenthal (D-CT), Kirsten Gillibrand (D-NY), Robert Menendez (D-NJ), Michael Bennet (D-CO), Cory Booker (D-NJ), Catherine Cortez Masto (D-NV), Tammy Duckworth (D-IL), Richard Durbin (D-IL), Kamala Harris (D-CA), Martin Heinrich (D-NM), Mazie Hirono (D-HI), Amy Klobuchar (D-MN), Patrick Leahy (D-VT), Edward Markey (D-MA), Jeff Merkley (D-OR), Patty Murray (D-WA), Jack Reed (D-RI), Bernie Sanders (I-VT), Tom Udall (D-NM), Elizabeth Warren (D-MA), Sheldon Whitehouse (D-RI), and Ron Wyden (D-OR).

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