Families Belong Together
The Trump Administration’s “Zero Tolerance Policy” tore thousands of families apart from 2017 to 2021. Today, it’s estimated that almost 1,000 children taken from their parents four to five years ago have yet to be reunited. For those who have been reunited, the trauma they have experienced continues to haunt them. Pediatric doctors describe this family separation as a form of torture and state-sanctioned child abuse that will result in life long mental, emotional, and physical scars.
Families separated at the U.S. border deserve to live without fear, to be reunited, and to be provided citizenship, resources, care, and a commitment that family separation will never happen again.
In the last session of Congress, the Families Belong Together Act was introduced in both the House and the Senate. This bill would have reunited those families on U.S. soil and provided the survivors of the family separation policy with a pathway to citizenship by providing the following to eligible parents and children:
- Humanitarian parole to ensure that families can be reunited in the United States.
- A process by which families can be adjusted to lawful permanent resident (LPR) status.
- Assurance that this process grants quick relief, by specifying that the Director of U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services has 30 days to make the determination regarding the adjustment of eligible parents and children to LPR status.
- Authorization of $5 million to the Department of State to ensure separated families are located and provided information about the opportunities to safely reunite.
- Authorization of $5 million to the Department of Justice in order to educate parents and children through the Legal Orientation Program.
After the bill was introduced, it did not progress further on the floor.
Now that Congress has entered into a new session, the bill is effectively dead unless it is reintroduced in the 118th Congress.