With President Donald Trump’s “zero tolerance” immigration policy still intact, and the fate of more than 2,000 children and their separated parents still hanging in the balance, state Senator Linda Stewart (D-Orlando) called on U.S. Senator Marco Rubio to co-sponsor federal legislation to end the nightmare plaguing the country’s southern border.
“President Trump’s decision to retreat over his inhumane policy separating immigrant children from their parents was presented as a way ‘to keep families together,’” said Sen. Stewart, who earlier this month joined hundreds of groups nationwide protesting the zero tolerance policy and family separations. “The only change this brings is keeping families together in cages. This is not what Americans are demanding.”
Under the new executive order issued Wednesday, the Trump Administration will now detain children and their parents indefinitely, likely violating a federal consent agreement known as “Flores.” It also fails to address the 2400 immigrant children already removed from their parents, and whether they will be immediately be returned, assuming they can be identified.
In the meantime, legislation is pending in Congress which would not only ban future attempts to execute similar inhumane acts (Keep Families Together Act), but provide legal counsel for detained children (Fair Day in Court for Kids Act).
“As they work to sort out the chaos this administration created, there is something that can be done now to prevent similar tragedies in the future,” said Sen. Stewart. “If Senator Rubio and others are sincere in their opposition to such cruelty, these bills are a good place to start to prevent it from ever happening again.”