House Democratic Caucus: Reuniting Immigrant Families

For the past several weeks, the American public has been bombarded with images of children, crying at their parents’ side, forced into converted storefronts and tent cities, questioning where their loved ones are or whether they will see them again.

We cannot sit by silently, complicit in the inhumane treatment of other human beings. We have seen these kinds of atrocities in American history before, and people did not speak out then. This time, it has to be different. We have to be better. Our federal government must right the wrong it has committed and work diligently to reunite the families it has forcibly ripped apart.

Even to this point, new information about the scope and breadth of this problem is coming to light. We are learning more about children being separated from their parents at the border and then moved hundreds of miles away, where reuniting these families becomes an even more impossible task.

While the president’s executive order might prevent additional families from being separated, it does nothing to rectify the damage that already has been done. Thousands of children are still being housed in facilities throughout the country, with no apparent plan to make these families whole. This is not the American Dream they sought when they sought asylum in this country.

This is not about politics or placing blame; it is about respecting humanity and showing decency and compassion. It is about looking forward and doing what is right and just. Keeping children separated from their parents is not justice; it is simply creating broken families.

These families seeking asylum have fled violence and destructive situations, similar to our ancestors first looking to Ellis Island as a beacon of hope. How can we say we are the country of opportunity when we have destroyed families and are doing nothing to rebuild them? Our federal government created this human rights crisis, and now we must make it right.

The psychological trauma children face when they are ripped from their parents is instant, gut-wrenching and long-lasting. It will take years and intensive counseling for these children to come to grips with what is happening today. We can take a step toward healing these wounds now.

The immigration system itself is a much bigger issue that needs to be addressed, but today, right now, we must come together to fix this atrocity. We encourage the allocation of additional funding to reunify families immediately. We urge our leaders to work together, for these families and for our nation.

 

Sincerely,

Peter C. Schwartzkopf            Valerie J. Longhurst                John J. Viola
House Speaker                        House Majority Leader           House Majority Whip

  

Paul S. Baumbach                   Andria L. Bennett                   David S. Bentz
State Representative               State Representative               State Representative 

      

Stephanie T. Bolden               Gerald L. Brady                      William J. Carson
State Representative               State Representative               State Representative 

           

Debra J. Heffernan                 Earl G. Jaques                         James “J.J.” Johnson
State Representative               State Representative               State Representative 

     

S. Quinton Johnson IV           Helene M. Keeley                   John A. Kowalko Jr.
State Representative               State Representative               State Representative 

                    

Sean M. Lynn                         Sean Matthews                       J. Larry Mitchell
State Representative               State Representative               State Representative 

             

Michael P. Mulrooney               Edward S. Osienski                W. Charles “Trey” Paradee III
State Representative               State Representative               State Representative 

                

Charles Potter Jr.                     Bryon H. Short                       Melanie George Smith
State Representative               State Representative               State Representative 

 

Kimberly A. Williams
State Representative

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House - Immigration Families Letter FINAL.pdf352.78 KB