Meng Introduces Legislation to Help Children Separated From Their Parents Under President’s Family Separation Policy
Jun 28, 2018
WASHINGTON, D.C. – In the wake of her visit to the U.S.-Mexico border last weekend, U.S. Rep. Grace Meng (D-NY) introduced two pieces of legislation that would improve conditions for children who have been separated from their parents.
The Better Care for Kids Act (H.R. 6222) would improve training that federal personnel who care for separated children receive by requiring that they use best practices when caring for infants and toddlers. The bill would ensure that personnel are trained to properly care for tender-age children, particularly to minimize trauma they may be experiencing.
Meng’s other measure, the Child Advocate Program Reauthorization Act (H.R. 6223), would reauthorize the Child Advocate Program, an initiative that appoints independent child advocates for vulnerable alien unaccompanied children and child trafficking victims. The bill would extend the authorization through 2022. Just this month, the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) announced its desire to cover 550 minors through the program in nearly a dozen locations throughout the country including in New York. The authorization for the program expired in 2017.
“It is appalling that parents who had their kids ripped away from them are still separated from their children, and that the President still has no concrete plan to bring them back together,” said Meng. “But while these children are detained without their parents, it is essential that the government provide them with the best care possible, and that they have advocates who are on their side. My bills would ensure that children are afforded these vital protections, and I urge all of my colleagues to support these two measures. It is critical that the best interests of these children be served.”
Both bills have been referred to the House Judiciary Committee where they are awaiting further action.
Meng traveled to the border near McAllen and Brownsville, Texas last Saturday, June 23 where she saw detained children and spoke with parents who have been separated from their kids. She visited the Port Isabel ICE Detention Center and toured the McAllen Border Patrol Station and Centralized Processing Center.