Leading Democrats have introduced legislation that would put the victims of the Trump administration’s barbaric “zero tolerance” policy on a path to legal status and eventual U.S. citizenship. “While the trauma of this policy will leave a lasting impact on those affected,” Rep. Joaquin Castro of Texas said, “the Families Belong Together Act seeks to bring a modicum of justice by helping parents and children.”
Over 2,500 children were stolen from families at the southern border under the policy, which a federal judge halted last summer. But a recent government watchdog report found that the Trump administration stole thousands more kids than previously reported. "How many more children were separated is unknown by us and Health and Human Services," an investigator said.
“Given the latest report from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services’ Office of the Inspector General that said thousands more were separated than previously known,” Castro continued, “we must hold this administration accountable for rectifying this tragedy that will inevitably leave a dark stain on America’s history.”
The bill would also affect families who were cruelly deported by the administration, allowing them to return to the U.S. so they can live their lives in safety here. Parents have said that they “were coerced into signing deportation forms after being falsely told by Immigration and Customs Enforcement officers that it was the only way to reunite with their children.”
While a federal judge ordered officials to reunite families separated under the “zero tolerance” policy months ago, children remain in U.S. custody. Border officials have also exploited the judge’s ruling by falsely accusing asylum-seekers and other parents of gang affiliations in order to justify stealing their children. Family separation remains a crisis.
“This bill is a necessary first step towards righting the wrong of family separation,” said Sen. Richard Blumenthal of Connecticut, “but it is not the last step. I will continue to demand that every Administration official responsible for this cruel policy and its cover-up is held accountable. We must never again forget the simple and enduring truth that families belong together.”