Nelson calls policy “inhumane,” files new legislation to
prohibit DHS from separating children from parents
U.S. Sen. Bill Nelson (D-FL) and several other federal lawmakers are taking action to try to stop the Trump administration’s practice of separating children from their parents when they enter the U.S.
Nelson was one of approximately three dozen senators who cosigned a letter to President Trump Thursday calling for his administration to stop the “inhumane” practice of ripping families apart.
“Your decision to separate children from their parents at the border is cruel, unnecessary, ineffective, and goes against our values as Americans,” the lawmakers wrote. “There is no legitimate reason why these children need to be separated from their parents. … We ask that your Administration rescind this unethical, ineffective, and inhumane policy and instead prioritize approaches that align with our humanitarian American values.”
In addition to urging the president to take immediate action to end the administration’s policy, Nelson and a separate group of lawmakers also filed a bill late Thursday that would, by law, prohibit the Department of Homeland Security from separating a child from his or her parents at the border, except in extraordinary circumstances or when it’s in the child’s best interest.
Specifically, under the legislation, officials would be prohibited from separating a child from his or her parents unless a state court or welfare agency orders them to do so because they believe it would in the child’s best interest, or officials determine that the child is vulnerable to abuse or trafficking.
In addition to prohibiting most future separations, the legislation would require all Customs and Border Protections officers and agents to complete annual child welfare training, and, if a child is separated from his or her parents, it would require the agency to provide the parents with regular updates on the well-being of their children and information on how to find them.
It’s not the first time Nelson has taken action to try to stop the administration’s policy. Earlier this year, Nelson called for a federal investigation into the Department of Homeland Security’s policy of separating children from their parents at the border.
“We must return to our true American values by treating those seeking asylum with dignity and respect and keeping families together,” Nelson said last week, condemning the administration’s actions.
A .pdf of Nelson’s letter to Trump is available here.
Text of the legislation Nelson and others filed is available here.