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Daily Action: What We ACTUALLY Can Do About Separated Families

Sen. Dianne Feinstein

DC: (202) 224-3841
LA: (310) 914-7300
Sen. Kamala Harris
DC: (202) 224-3553
LA:  (213) 894-5000
Rep. Julia Brownley: 
DC: (202) 225-5811
Thousand Oaks: (805) 379-1779
Rep. Ted Lieu:
DC: (202) 225-3976
LA: (323) 651-1040
Rep. Steve Knight:
DC: (202) 225-1956
Simi Valley: (805) 581-7130

Sample Script:
Hello, my name is __________, and I am a constituent of Senator/Representative ___________'s in _______________, California. I am calling to urge the senator/congressperson to use Congress' oversight authority over the Department of Homeland Security to end Trump's cruel practice of separating families who attempt to cross the U.S. border. Harming innocent children should be off-limits to the United States government under every circumstance; it simply does not reflect our values. The Trump administration needs to find other, less inhumane methods if it's going to prioritize deterring immigrants without documents from bringing families into the country. Thank you!

Earlier this spring, Attorney General Jeff Sessions declared that the Department of Justice henceforth will seek "100% prosecution" of all who enter the U.S. without documents, and will separate parents from children instead of keeping them in a detention center together. Now Homeland Security is cruelly splitting families at the border -- at least 700 children have been taken from their families, about 100 of them are under the age of 4. Over the weekend, Trump lied about the situation via Twitter, claiming that Democrats are responsible for a law requiring those separations -- when in fact no such law exists, and the new policy is entirely his administration's doing.

Public outrage at this new tactic has been joined with misunderstanding -- particularly following a recent report that the Department of Health and Human Services' Office of Refugee Resettlement could not account for the whereabouts of nearly 1,500 young people who had crossed into the U.S. unaccompanied last fall. The conflation of these two issues has resulted in a social-media #WhereAreTheChildren fury, fueling concerns of human trafficking and other violations of basic human rights. However, it's difficult to know the extent to which the "loss" of the unaccompanied children is truly a problem -- in at least some cases, it is believed that their parents or guardians may be declining to respond to ORR's requests for information out of fear for the children's safety, or their own if they are undocumented. More perspectives on the unaccompanied-minors issue are available here and here and here.

Even as the circumstances of those refugee minors are sorted out, Congress must take immediate action on the separate issue of Trump's inhumane treatment of immigrant families. Using its oversight authority over the Department of Homeland Security and ORR, Congress must pass legislation limiting the agencies' options for detaining parents and children separately.