WASHINGTON – U.S. Senator Ben Cardin (D-Md.) joined Finance Committee Democrats today in demanding to know how the Trump administration is ensuring the safety of children separated from their parents under Trump’s zero-tolerance policy and how the administration plans to reunify children and families.
In a letter to Secretary of Health and Human Services (HHS) Alex Azar, the senators noted that many of the children separated from their families under Trump’s zero-tolerance policy are being detained in facilities operated through HHS.
“While we are encouraged the President has signed the Executive Order: Affording Congress an Opportunity to Address Family Separation to stop the unnecessary and cruel separation of children from their families, by no means is this crisis over,” they wrote. “Given the Finance Committee’s jurisdiction over the Administration for Children and Families (ACF) and the U.S. foster care system, we demand answers on how ACF will ensure the safety, well-being, and reunification of the reportedly more than 2,300 children who have been separated from their families in recent weeks.”
Earlier this month, Cardin joined 39 of his colleagues in calling for Trump to reverse his inhumane policy of separating children from families who cross the U.S. southern border seeking asylum in the United States. The senators cited the American Academy of Pediatrics in stressing the short- and long-term damage to these children from being unnecessarily separated from their families and from unnecessary institutionalization.
The Senators asked for answers by June 27, 2018.
In addition to Cardin, the letter was signed by Finance Committee Ranking Member Ron Wyden, D-Ore., as well as Sens. Michael Bennet, D-Colo., Robert Menendez, D-N.J., Bill Nelson, D-Fla., Tom Carper, D-Del., Maria Cantwell, D-Wash., Robert P. Casey, Jr., D-Penn., Mark Warner, D-Va., Debbie Stabenow, D-Mich., Sheldon Whitehouse, D-R.I., and Sherrod Brown, D-Ohio.
Read the full text of the letter here.