Members of Congress Recognized as Champions for Children

It’s hard to believe we’re here again.

Apparently, the inhumane treatment enforced by the Department of Homeland Security under departing Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen was not inhumane enough for the Trump Administration, which reportedly is once again considering family separation as a policy option. The so-called “binary option” would force families seeking legal asylum in this country to waive fundamental Flores Settlement protections, clearing the way for the government to warehouse them in unlicensed detention facilities or to force them to turn their children over to the federal government. This is a false choice as both options would cause immense harm to children.

“We call on the President to guarantee that any new secretary — whether acting or confirmed — shall first Do No Harm to children, whether it’s by separating them from their parents or by detaining them,” said Bruce Lesley, president of the advocacy group First Focus Campaign for Children. “The Administration must stop using children as pawns in pursuit of a policy to waylay asylum-seeking families and must only act in the best interest of the child. This cruel and abhorrent strategy violates basic human rights and is not the way a great nation treats children.”

The Administration only recently revealed that it will take two years to reunite the families it broke apart during previous separations under the horrific “zero tolerance” policy. Those separations drew international attention for prying babies from their mother’s arms before deportation and have been deemed “government-sanctioned child abuse” by the American Academy of Pediatrics. They should never be repeated.

In addition, we urge President Trump to abandon calls to eliminate the crucial protections for children offered by the Trafficking Victims Protection Reauthorization Act of 2008 and the Flores Settlement Agreement. These protections are not “loopholes,” as administration officials have called them. Without them, children will suffer horrific prison-like conditions and risk being returned to the dangerous situations from which they fled.

Washington — Today, the First Focus Campaign for Children, a national, bipartisan child advocacy group, recognized 100 Members of Congress for their leadership on issues important to children during 2011.

“Lots of politicians talk about kids’ issues, but few back it up,” said Bruce Lesley, president of the Campaign for Children. Champions and Defenders delivered for kids in 2011.”

Among the honorees, 50 Members were named “Champions for Children,” for their extraordinary efforts to protect and improve the future of America’s next generation. An additional 50 Members were recognized as “Defenders of Children” for their support of policies that advance the well-being of children. The 2011 Champions and Defenders are:

2011 Champions for Children


Sen. Mark Begich (D-AK)
Sen. Susan Collins (R-ME)
Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand (D-NY)
Sen. Barbara Mikulski (D-MD)
Sen. Bernie Sanders (D-VT)
Sen. Sherrod Brown (D-OH)
Sen. Dick Durbin (D-IL)
Sen. Tom Harkin (D-IA)
Sen. Patty Murray (D-WA)
Sen. Olympia Snowe (R-ME)
Sen. Bob Casey (D-PA)
Sen. Al Franken (D-MN)
Sen. Bob Menendez (D-NJ)
Sen. Jay Rockefeller (D-WV)
Sen. Debbie Stabenow (D-MI)


Rep. Karen Bass (D-CA)
Rep. Lois Capps (D-CA)
Rep. Judy Chu (D-CA)
Rep. Danny Davis (D-IL)
Rep. Chaka Fattah (D-PA)
Rep. Jesse Jackson, Jr. (D-IL)
Rep. Barbara Lee (D-CA)
Rep. Jim McGovern (D-MA)
Rep. Nancy Pelosi (D-CA)
Rep. Lucille Roybal-Allard (D-CA)
Rep. Robert Scott (D-VA)
Rep. Chris Van Hollen (D-MD)
Rep. Xavier Becerra (D-CA)
Rep. Kathy Castor (D-FL)
Rep. Jim Clyburn (D-SC)
Rep. Rosa DeLauro (D-CT)
Rep. Raul Grijalva (D-AZ)
Rep. Sheila Jackson Lee (D-TX)
Rep. Betty McCollum (D-MN)
Rep. George Miller (D-CA)
Rep. Todd Platts (D-PA)
Rep. Linda Sanchez (D-CA)
Rep. Pete Stark (D-CA)
Rep. Lynn Woolsey (D-CA)
Rep. Judy Biggert (R-IL)
Rep. Donna Christensen (D-VI)
Rep. John Conyers (D-MI)
Rep. Keith Ellison (D-MN)
Rep. Maurice Hinchey (D-NY)
Rep. Peter King (R-NY)
Rep. Jim McDermott (D-WA)
Rep. Donald Payne (D-NJ)
Rep. Jared Polis (D-CO)
Rep. Jan Schakowsky (D-IL)
Rep. Pat Tiberi (R-OH)

2011 Defenders of Children


Sen. Max Baucus (D-MT)
Sen. Barbara Boxer (D-CA)
Sen. Mike Enzi (R-WY)
Sen. Mary Landreiu (D-LA)
Sen. Harry Reid (D-NV)
Sen. Jeff Bingaman (D-NM)
Sen. Scott Brown (R-MA)
Sen. Charles Grassley (R-IA)
Sen. Frank Lautenberg (D-NJ)
Sen. Charles Schumer (D-NY)
Sen. Richard Blumenthal (D-CT)
Sen. Thad Chochran (R-MS)
Sen. John Kerry (D-MA)
Sen. Jack Reed (D-RI)
Sen. Sheldon Whitehouse (D-RI)


Rep. Shelley Berkley (D-NV)
Rep. Judy Chu (D-CA)
Rep. Diana DeGette (D-CO)
Rep. Bob Filner (D-CA)
Rep. Luis Gutierrez (D-IL)
Rep. Eleanor Holmes Norton (D-DC)
Rep. Rush Holt (D-NJ)
Rep. John Lewis (D-GA)
Rep. Donald Manzullo (R-IL)
Rep. Frank Pallone (D-NJ)
Rep. Ileana Ros-Lehtinen (R-FL)
Rep. Jose Seranno (D-NY)
Rep. Paul Tonko (D-NY)
Rep. Howard Berman (D-CA)
Rep. Steve Cohen (D-TN)
Rep. Lloyd Doggett (D-TX)
Rep. Marcia Fudge (D-OH)
Rep. Ruben Hinojosa (D-TX)
Rep. Michael Honda (D-CA)
Rep. Nita Lowey (D-NY)
Rep. Doris Matsui (D-CA)
Rep. Charles Rangel (D-NY)
Rep. Steven Rothman (D-NJ)
Rep. Christopher Smith (R-NJ)
Rep. Henry Waxman (D-CA)
Rep. Robert Brady (D-PA)
Rep. Joseph Crowley (D-NY)
Rep. Jo Ann Emerson (R-MO)
Rep. Jim Gerlach (R-PA)
Rep. Mazie Hirono (D-HI)
Rep. Steny Hoyer (D-MD)
Rep. Carolyn Maloney (D-NY)
Rep. Gwen Moore (D-WI)
Rep. Dave Reichert (R-WA)
Rep. Allyson Schwartz (D-PA)
Rep. Jackie Speier (D-CA)

In selecting Champions and Defenders, the First Focus Campaign for Children noted leaders who introduced, co-sponsored, and voted for legislation to meet children’s needs. In addition, the organization considered Members who demonstrated extraordinary initiative by spearheading activities such as sponsoring hearings or garnering the support of their colleagues to improve the health and well-being of children.

This is the Campaign for Children’s second annual class of Champions for Children. The 2012 Champions for Children will be announced in the fall of 2012.

For a complete list of 2011 Champions and Defenders and more information, visit

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