Congress Should Fix Family Separation at the Border Immediately and Separately from Amnesty

Press Releases · Jun 19, 2018

Washington—Over the past week, it has been reported that 2,000 undocumented immigrant children are currently being held by Health and Human Services at the southern border in temporary shelters. These 2,000 children crossed the southern border accompanied by a parent illegally but have claimed asylum.

Adjudicating an asylum claim takes more than 20 days, but in 2016 the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 9th Circuit interpreted the Flores Settlement Agreement to apply to this scenario. The Settlement established a policy that the federal government would release unaccompanied minors from federal custody to their parents, relatives, or other caretakers after no more than 20 days.

Thankfully, Rep. Mark Meadows (R-N.C.) has introduced legislation today, called the Equal Protection of Unaccompanied Minors Act, that reverses the 9th Circuit’s interpretation and better serves those with legitimate asylum cases. Heritage Action released the following statement from Executive Director Tim Chapman:

The troubling and legally complicated situation at the southern border calls for Congress to take action immediately. Legislation introduced by Rep. Meadows would reunite families, improve the asylum process, and allow the Trump administration to enforce the law without separating families.

Congress should not wait to address family separation in a controversial amnesty bill later this week. Instead, the House of Representatives should fix this bipartisan and more urgent issue separately and immediately.


Fact-Checking 4 Claims About Detaining Children at the Border