PROVIDENCE, R.I. (WPRI) — Rhode Island’s U.S. Senate delegation is calling on the Trump Administration to end its policy of involuntarily separating immigrant children from their parents.
Senators Sheldon Whitehouse and Jack Reed announced Monday in Providence the “Keep Families Together Act.”
The new law is in response to President Donald Trump’s “Zero Tolerance Policy,” which is resulting in immigrant children being separated from their migrant mothers and fathers at the U.S.-Mexico border. The policy also charges almost everyone who crosses the border without paperwork with a federal misdemeanor.
“There is no law that requires the Trump Administration to systematically separate immigrant families. The Trump Administration is inflicting immeasurable trauma on children,” Reed said.
Reed and Whitehouse cited reports from pediatricians on the long-term psychological impacts that separation has on children.
“Some of these kids who are too young to even speak are being kept away from their parents for months on end,” Reed added. “This is an unjust and unsustainable policy. Our bill would help put a stop the Trump Administration’s immoral decision to try and use family separation as a blunt instrument.”
Whitehouse believes the “Zero Tolerance Policy” is un-American.
“As pediatricians point out, this separation is known to inflict trauma on these little children,” he said. “Instead, we should be working toward bipartisan comprehensive immigration reform.”
Last week, Reed and Whitehouse joined 38 other senators in sending a letter to Trump, urging him to reverse course on the policy.