Senate Democrats launch bill to end migrant family separations
WASHINGTON, D.C. - Senate Democrats are hoping to end family separations once and for all.
Senate Minority Leader Charles Schumer (D-N.Y.) announced legislation that would effectively change the way the Trump administration detains migrant children at the Southern border.
During Thursday’s news conference, references to the powerful photo from late June showing a drowned migrant father and daughter sparked an emotional plea from Schumer and Sens. Mazie Hirono (D-Hawaii), Jeff Merkley (D-Ore.), Patty Murray (D-Wash.), and Dick Durbin (D-Ill.).
“If you weren’t appalled by these pictures, then something is dead or dying in your hearts and in the heart of America,” said an emotional Hirono, who emigrated to the United States from Japan as a child.
“How we treat them is so un-American, it should make every American ashamed regardless of your party,” Schumer said.
Schumer and more than three-dozen Senate Democrats are backing a bill that would end family separations at the border, and boost health and safety protections for migrant children in u-s custody. This comes after reports this week that children are being housed in cramped, unsanitary detention centers; some reportedly sleeping on the floor and without access to food.
“The conditions were bad enough when we went there,” said Hirono, who recently toured a migrant detention with Merkley. “They are even worse now.”
The proposal comes nearly two weeks after congress approved an additional $4.5 billion to deal with the humanitarian crisis at the border. It also follows a fourth straight month U.S. Customs and Border Protection and other U.S. officials arrested over 100,000 migrants at the Southern border, more than double the number from a year ago.
There is still a large political hurdle for Democrats to clear: they still have to get this bill through a Republican-controlled Senate. It’s unclear if President Donald Trump would sign it into law. Democrats are urging Republicans to see this as more than just politics.
“They’re simply seeking a decent life for themselves and their children,” Schumer said.