Letter to Congress: The Family Separation Crisis and Labor-HHS
First Focus Campaign for Children and 60 other groups sent a letter to the United States House Appropriations Subcommittee on Labor, Health and Human Services, Education, and Related Agencies regarding the crisis of family separation and detention.
We the undersigned organizations are writing to express our profound concern over the cruel and harmful practice of separating families at our southern border. We request that you act to help swiftly reunite families and ensure this is done in a manner that absolutely protects the children, upholds legal standards prohibiting family detention, and increases government transparency for the public. During the House Appropriations Committee mark-up of the Labor, Health and Human Services, Education and Related Agencies (Labor-HHS) annual appropriations bill for Fiscal Year 2019 (FY 19), we were extremely troubled and alarmed to see the Cole amendment pass, as it would override crucial protections established by the Flores Settlement Agreement. However, we were pleased to see the Committee include a number of important provisions in the Manager’s Amendment, as well as several other amendments by voice vote, that would lead to real progress in addressing this urgent crisis. As the FY 19 Labor-HHS spending bill advances further, we urge you to:
- Strike the Cole (No. 2) Amendment overriding Flores protections for children,
- Support the four provisions in the Manager’s Amendment pertaining to Congressional oversight of the Office of Refugee Resettlement (ORR) and permitting in-kind donations to ORR care facilities,
- Support the 12 amendments adopted by voice vote aimed at protecting children in the care of ORR and facilitating family reunification, and
- Support additional amendments that, had they passed, would strengthen efforts to protect these children and families.