María Ponce,, 202-394-2139

Issued May 29, 2018

SEIU’s Sáenz: Forcibly separating children from their parents is egregious, beyond unconscionable

WASHINGTON—SEIU International Executive Vice President and iAmerica Action President Rocio Sáenz issued the following statement in response to news reports and recent reports by Customs and Border Protection at a Senate subcommittee hearing, that thousands of children, including infants, have been forcibly taken from their parents arriving at the U.S.-Mexico border:

“It is egregious that this administration is separating children, including infants, from their parents and holding them in government custody in facilities that are not designed for young children. To make matters worse, according to reports, the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) is subjecting children to violent abuse and neglect in addition to separating them from their parents. This policy and inhumane actions go against who we are as Americans and jeopardizes the safety and well-being of all children on U.S. soil.

“Many of the families who show up at our border are fleeing persecution in their home countries and seeking safety in the U.S.  They come here to protect their families from unimaginable life threatening situations. When faced with dangerous and unsafe living conditions, any parent would do the same and move mountains to protect their family and make the decision to seek a safer and better life in America.

“Children should have the right to be protected from abuse and to stay together with their families or be reunified with family members or safe sponsors as required by law to ensure their safety.  We strongly oppose separating infants and children from their parents and call on Congress and DHS to end this practice immediately.”