Casey, Senate Colleagues Introduce Legislation to Stop Cruel and Neglectful Treatment of Children at Border

Legislation Would Set Health and Safety Standards for Children in America’s Care

Casey, Senate Colleagues Introduce Legislation to Stop Cruel and Neglectful Treatment of Children at Border

Washington, D.C. – As the Trump administration continues its cruel and neglectful treatment of children at the U.S.-Mexico border, U.S. Senator Bob Casey (D-PA) has joined a coalition of more than three dozen Senate colleagues in fighting for migrant children’s rights with the Stop Cruelty to Migrant Children Act. This new legislation would put an end to the Trump administration’s harmful treatment of migrant children and reform how children fleeing persecution are treated between the moment at which they arrive at our borders to claim asylum and the ultimate resolution of their asylum case.

“There is a humanitarian crisis at our southern border that has been exacerbated by the policies of this Administration,” said Senator Casey. “This Administration’s policy of separating children from their parents goes against our values as a Nation. Asylum seekers who have fled violence and persecution should not be subjected to unhealthy, unsanitary or unsafe conditions under any circumstances. This is why I am proud to support the Stop Cruelty to Migrant Children Act, which would ensure humane standards of care and safety for migrants.”

The Stop Cruelty to Migrant Children Act would create clear, non-negotiable standards for the treatment of children in America’s care, including:

  • Ending family separations except when authorized by a state court or child welfare agency, or when Customs and Border Protection and an independent child welfare specialist agree that a child is a trafficking victim, is not the child of an accompanying adult, or is in danger of abuse or neglect;
  • Setting minimum health and safety standards for children and families in Border Patrol Stations.

Additionally, the legislation would provide resources to non-profit centers that are helping to provide humanitarian assistance, and improve public oversight of the conditions children are being held in by allowing members of Congress and their staff, along with credentialed press (without cameras), to visit any facility with 24 hours’ notice.

In addition to Casey, the legislation is supported by U.S. Senators Chuck Schumer (D-NY), Patty Murray (D-WA), Dianne Feinstein (D-CA), Dick Durbin (D-IL), Mazie Hirono (D-HI), Bob Menendez (D-NJ), Chris Coons (D-DE), Amy Klobuchar (D-MN), Patrick Leahy (D-VT), Maria Cantwell (D-WA), Jack Reed (D-RI), Michael Bennet (D-CO), Tammy Baldwin (D-WI), Bernie Sanders (I-VT), Chris Van Hollen (D-MD), Elizabeth Warren (D-MA), Ben Cardin (D-MD), Ron Wyden (D-OR), Brian Schatz (D-HI), Catherine Cortez Masto (D-NV), Sheldon Whitehouse (D-RI), Jacky Rosen (D-NV), Richard Blumenthal (D-CT), Edward J. Markey (D-MA), Kirsten Gillibrand (D-NY), Mark Warner (D-VA), Tim Kaine (D-VA), Kamala D. Harris (D-CA), Chris Murphy (D-CT), Tammy Duckworth (D-IL), Maggie Hassan (D-NH), Tina Smith (D-MN), Jeanne Shaheen (D-NH), Cory Booker (D-NJ), Angus King (I-ME), Debbie Stabenow (D-MI) and Sherrod Brown (D-OH).

The Trump administration has been determined to keep pursuing policies that inflict trauma on children and families fleeing persecution abroad—seen most recently in the news reports of children being detained in squalid conditions near the border and the ‘metering’ policies that have blockaded families from legally applying for asylum at American ports of entry. And earlier this week, NBC News reported that horrific conditions, abuse, and retaliation aimed at children at the border may be even more widespread than previously known.

A section-by-section breakdown of the Stop Cruelty to Migrant Children Act is available here and a one-pager is available here.