June 21,2018

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Sam Offerdahl (202) 224-5039

Finance Democrats Demand Plan to Reunite Children Separated from Their Parents at the Border

WASHINGTON – U.S. Sen. Ron Wyden, D-Ore., the top Democrat on the Senate Finance Committee, led 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, Wyden led 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. Wyden and 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 Wyden, 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., Ben Cardin, D-Md., Debbie Stabenow, D-Mich., Sheldon Whitehouse, D-R.I., and Sherrod Brown, D-Ohio, also signed the letter.

Read the full text of the letter here.