Amendments Attack Children, Advocates Say
Washington – The bipartisan children’s advocacy organization First Focus Campaign for Children today sent a letter to members of the United States House of Representatives, urging opposition to floor amendments that would add anti-child provisions to legislation (H.R. 240) funding the U.S. Department of Homeland Security.
“Last week, House Speaker John Boehner spoke of building a ladder for children to reach the stars. This week, the House is voting to pull the ladder out from under millions of children,” said First Focus Campaign for Children president Bruce Lesley.
The letter details concerns with two of the five amendments anticipated to be made in order by the House Rules Committee. One, by Rep. Robert Aderholt (R-Ala.), would roll back protections for an estimated 4.5 million U.S. citizen children whose families are protected by last year’s Deferred Action for Parental Accountability (DAPA) initiative. DAPA provides relief from deportation for the parents of citizen and lawful permanent resident children. Past enforcement actions against parents have resulted in thousands of avoidable placements in states’ already-overburdened foster care systems.
“What does it say about a lawmaker’s family values when he or she votes to have federal agents snatch a mother away from her child?,” asked Lesley.
The other amendment cited in the letter, by Rep. Marsha Blackburn (R-Tenn.), would defund the 2012 Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) initiative and prevent its expansion. DACA includes elements of the broadly bipartisan DREAM Act, permitting qualifying immigrants who entered the U.S. without documentation as children to get an education, work, and contribute to America’s society and economy. The amendment would put 600,000 youth who have benefitted from the program at risk for deportation. DACA applications have come from children and young adults in every state in the Union.
“Rather than pushing for a status quo that tears families apart and directly harms children, we urge the House to work together on passing immigration reform legislation that honors our American values of keeping families together and putting children first,” said Lesley.