Pages tagged "Children of Immigrants"
Our nation’s children face an array of problems, including poverty, violence, abuse, neglect, hunger, poor nutrition, education inequity, homelessness, lack of health coverage, infant and child mortality, and family separations in mixed-status households. These obstacles demand attention, policy solutions, political will, and action that to make children a priority.
Unfortunately, kids are far too often an afterthought in Congress. The problem is that children can’t vote and don’t have Political Action Committees (PACs) that garner and demand attention.
Children need Champions and Defenders, who are willing to focus on, support, raise their voices, and attach their name to legislation that would improve the lives of our nation’s children and actively oppose legislation that would harm kids.
In an attempt to recognize the lawmakers in the First Session of the 115th Congress who are actively working and trying to improve the lives of our nation’s children through public policy change, to improve the lives of our nation’s children through the policy process, we are pleased to present our Champions and Defenders for Children Scorecard.
See also the previous award recipients:
July 19, 2018, Washington, D.C.—In a year marked by partisanship, several Members of Congress stood out as Champions and Defenders of children, according to the 2017 Legislative Scorecard released by First Focus Campaign for Children (FFCC), a national bipartisan children’s advocacy group.
“Even though child advocates had to defend a whole range of legislative and regulatory attacks on children, we identified 120 Members of Congress who chose to make children a priority. We commend their leadership and hope they will inspire their colleagues to do the same,” said Bruce Lesley, President of the First Focus Campaign for Children.
Of note is that, in the 115th Congress, women are 2.6 times more likely to be named a champion or defender of children than men.
The 2017 Champions for Children Scorecard includes key votes on health-related bills and amendments to tax legislation, including two House votes on the Children’s Health Insurance Program, two Senate votes on child tax credit amendments, and four votes between the two chambers on the Affordable Care Act.
For instance, the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act, signed into law in December 2017 (P.L. 115-97) will increase the deficit by approximately $1.5 trillion, which the next generation will pay off well into the future. The deficit will also trigger cuts to numerous programs vital to children, including Medicaid, Children’s Health Insurance Program, and the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program. Sen. Marco Rubio (R-FL) offered an amendment to further expand the CTC by increasing its refundability (make it refundable against payroll taxes), which would have benefitted lower income families. Sadly, despite 68 senators voting for it, the amendment did not pass as senators failed to overcome opposition from Senate leadership and the Trump Administration.
In July 2017, the Senate voted down the “Health Care Freedom Act” (H.R. 1628), which would have resulted in an estimated 16 million Americans losing health coverage and a 20 percent increase in insurance premiums. The First Focus Campaign for Children strongly opposed the bill, and we thank all the members of the Senate who voted against it, including Sens. Susan Collins (R-ME), Lisa Murkowski (R-AK), and John McCain (R-AZ).
Out of 90 bills that FFCC is tracking, The Child Poverty Reduction Act of 2017 (S.1630/H.R.3381), would mandate that the federal government create a plan to cut the number of children in poverty by half in ten years and to eliminate child poverty in twenty years. That legislation was sponsored by Sen. Bob Casey (D-PA) and Rep. Danny Davis (D-IL), who accumulated the most points in the Senate and House for their votes and work on legislation for children.
This is First Focus Campaign for Children’s eighth annual class of Champions and Defenders for Children.
Champions for Children
- Sen. Tammy Baldwin (D-WI)
- Sen. Richard Blumenthal (D-CT)
- Sen. Cory Booker (D-NJ)
- Sen. Sherrod Brown (D-OH)
- Sen. Robert Casey (D-PA)
- Sen. Susan Collins (R-ME)
- Sen. Catherine Cortez Masto (D-NV)
- Sen. Richard Durbin (D-IL)
- Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-CA)
- Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand (D-NY)
- Sen. Kamala Harris (D-CA)
- Sen. Martin Heinrich (D-NM)
- Sen. Heidi Heitkamp (D-ND)
- Sen. Mazie Hirono (D-HI)
- Sen. Lisa Murkowski (R-AK)
- Sen. Patty Murray (D-WA)
- Sen. Bill Nelson (D-FL)
- Sen. Charles Schumer (D-NY)
- Sen. Debbie Stabenow (D-MI)
- Sen. Ron Wyden (D-OR)
- Rep. Lou Correa(D-CA)
- Rep. Joe Courtney (D-CT)
- Rep. Danny Davis (D-IL)
- Rep. Susan Davis (D-CA)
- Rep. Diana DeGette (D-CO)
- Rep. Rosa DeLauro (D-CT)
- Rep. Mark DeSaulnier (D-CA)
- Rep. Debbie Dingell (D-MI)
- Rep. Keith Ellison (D-MN)
- Rep. Raúl Grijalva (D-AZ)
- Rep. Luis Gutiérrez (D-IL)
- Rep. Alcee Hastings (D-FL)
- Rep. Sheila Jackson Lee (D-TX)
- Rep. Jim Langevin (D-RI)
- Rep. Barbara Lee (D-CA)
- Rep. Dave Loebsack (D-IA)
- Rep. Zoe Lofgren (D-CA)
- Rep. Ben Ray Luján (D-NM)
- Rep. Michelle Lujan Grisham (D-NM)
- Rep. James McGovern (D-MA)
- Rep. Gwen Moore (D-WI)
- Rep. Stephanie Murphy (D-FL)
- Rep. Mark Pocan (D-WI)
- Rep. Dave Reichert (R-WA)
- Rep. Ileana Ros-Lehtinen (R-FL)
- Rep. Jacky Rosen (D-NV)
- Rep. Lucille Roybal-Allard (D-CA)
- Rep. Bobby Rush (D-IL)
- Rep. Jan Schakowsky (D-IL)
- Rep. Darren Soto (D-FL)
- Rep. Mark Takano (D-CA)
Defenders of Children
- Sen. Michael Bennet (D-CO)
- Sen. Chris Coons (D-DE)
- Sen. Joe Donnelly (D-IN)
- Sen. Tammy Duckworth (D-IL)
- Sen. Angus King (I-ME)
- Sen. Amy Klobuchar (D-MN)
- Sen. Patrick Leahy (D-VT)
- Sen. Joe Manchin (D-WV)
- Sen. Edward Markey (D-MA)
- Sen. John McCain (R-AZ)
- Sen. Claire McCaskill (D-MO)
- Sen. Robert Menendez (D-NJ)
- Sen. Jeff Merkley (D-OR)
- Sen. Chris Murphy (D-CT)
- Sen. Gary Peters (D-MI)
- Sen. Jack Reed (D-RI)
- Sen. Tom Udall (D-NM)
- Sen. Chris Van Hollen (D-MD)
- Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-MA)
- Sen. Sheldon Whitehouse (D-RI)
- Rep. Nanette Barragán (D-CA)
- Rep. Ami Bera (D-CA)
- Rep. Suzanne Bonamici (D-OR)
- Rep. André Carson (D-IN)
- Rep. Mike Coffman (R-CO)
- Rep. Jim Costa (D-CA)
- Rep. Ryan Costello (R-PA)
- Rep. Carlos Curbelo (R-FL)
- Rep. Suzan DelBene (D-WA)
- Rep. Adriano Espaillat (D-NY)
- Rep. Dwight Evans (D-PA)
- Rep. Brian Fitzpatrick (R-PA)
- Rep. Lois Frankel (D-FL)
- Rep. Gene Green (D-TX)
- Rep. Jaime Herrera Beutler (R-WA)
- Rep. Will Hurd (R-TX)
- Rep. Pramila Jayapal (D-WA)
- Rep. John Katko (R-NY)
- Rep. Ro Khanna (D-CA)
- Rep. Ron Kind (D-WI)
- Rep. Leonard Lance (R-NJ)
- Rep. Brenda Lawrence (D-MI)
- Rep. Sander Levin (D-MI)
- Rep. Dan Lipinski (D-IL)
- Rep. Alan Lowenthal (D-CA)
- Rep. Grace Meng (D-NY)
- Rep. Richard Neal (D-MA)
- Rep. Beto O’Rourke (D-TX)
- Rep. Frank Pallone (D-NJ)
- Rep. Nancy Pelosi (D-CA)
- Rep. Linda Sánchez (D-CA)
- Rep. Brad Schneider (D-IL)
- Rep. Robert Scott (D-VA)
- Rep. José Serrano (D-NY)
- Rep. Terri Sewell (D-AL)
- Rep. Jackie Speier (D-CA)
- Rep. Steve Stivers (R-OH)
- Rep. Norma Torres (D-CA)
- Rep. Michael Turner (R-OH)
- Rep. Frederica Wilson (D-FL)
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The First Focus Campaign for Children is a 501(c)(4) nonprofit organization affiliated with First Focus, a bipartisan children’s advocacy organization. The Campaign for Children advocates directly for legislative change in Congress to ensure children and families are the priority in federal policy and budget decisions.
On Tuesday, Judge Dana M. Sabraw of the United States District Court for the Southern District of California granted a preliminary injunction that orders an end to the policy of family separations. It also mandated that families be reunited within 30 days, with children under 5 reunited with their families in 14 days, and allow all parents to speak with their children via phone within 10 days.
The following statement comes from Bruce Lesley, President of First Focus Campaign for Children:
We applaud the decision in MS. L V. ICE to reunite families separated by the administration. While this is a win for children, we urge the government to seek a transparent, effective process to carry out this order and bring a swift end to inhumane policies that have neither moral nor economic standing.
There is more work to be done. Family detention is still not a solution to family separation—it inflicts long-term, intergenerational trauma that amounts to abuse.
Enforcing our nation’s borders should never involve inflicting trauma and terror on children and families fleeing violence and terror.
As we expect a response from the executive branch, First Focus Campaign for Children will continue to monitor this situation as it develops.
In May, the Trump administration issued a zero-tolerance policy for families crossing the U.S. border. According to a recent report, 1,887 new children are now in the custody of the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) since the enactment of this policy just one month ago. This initiative has created a new category of unaccompanied children who will rely on HHS for their safety and well-being. While the stated purpose is to uphold the rule of law, cruelty as a deterrence tactic has been the point of this initiative from the start. The following statement comes from Bruce Lesley, President of First Focus Campaign for Children:
“With dire urgency, the administration’s anti-immigrant and anti-family policies must be rejected. In a democracy, we are all accountable for our government, which includes how we treat the most vulnerable among us. The administration’s family separation policy directly harms children and amounts to child abuse. Anyone concerned about the tragedy of family separation and the harm it is doing to children should contact their elected officials and demand the end to this policy. Our country has to be better than this.”
As a nation that values the well-being of all children and understands the strength of family unity, it is our responsibility to ensure that children and families who are seeking refuge in the U.S. are not deterred from doing so and that our government provides the best protections and services to these vulnerable children during every step of the process. There is room for bipartisan conversations regarding our nation’s broken immigration system. However, tearing children from their parents should never be a part of this conversation.
On behalf of First Focus Campaign for Children, a bipartisan children’s advocacy organization dedicated to making children and families the priority in federal budget and policy decisions we write to ask that you consider the following proposals to put an end to the inhumane practice of separating children from their families at the U.S. border (H.R. 5414, H.R. 5950, H.R. 2043, H.R. 2573). It is imperative that Congress and the administration do not use the torture of children and families for deterrence tactics or immigration enforcement.
In May, the Trump administration issued a zero-tolerance policy for families crossing the U.S. border. According to a recent report, 1,887 new children are now in the custody of the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) since the enactment of this policy just one month ago.1 This initiative has created a new category of unaccompanied children who will rely on HHS for their safety and well-being. While the stated purpose is to uphold the rule of law, cruelty as a deterrence tactic has been the point of this initiative from the start. Congress and the administration must work together to find solutions to the immigration debate that do not treat children and families as collateral damage.
First Focus Campaign for Children submitted the following statement for the record to the Senate Committee on Judiciary Border Security and Immigration Subcommittee.
Excerpt from the statement:
First Focus is a bipartisan children’s advocacy organization dedicated to making children and families a priority in federal policy and budget decisions. Our organization is committed to ensuring that our nation’s immigration policies promote child well-being and ensure that all children have the opportunity to live a healthy and successful life.
The humanitarian crisis in the northern triangle of Central America has caused an increase in the number of young people who are fleeing horrific gender violence and gang recruitment. We urge both Congress and the Administration to uphold the best interest of the child in all decisions regarding this crisis and the treatment of unaccompanied alien children (UACs). We are concerned with the Administration’s attempts to undermine protections under the Trafficking Victims Protection Reauthorization Act (TVPRA) for UACs including terminating the Flores Settlement Agreement (FSA), judicial discretion to remove UAC status, expedited removal of children from non-contiguous countries, and increased burden of proof for special immigrant juvenile status (SIJS). Rather than weakening protections for children in the face of this humanitarian crisis, Congress and the Administration should be strengthening such protections.
On October 3, 2017, the First Focus Campaign for Children submitted a statement for the record to the U.S. Senate Judiciary Committee on the oversight of the Administration's decision to end Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA).
WASHINGTON—Today, the First Focus Campaign for Children joined more than 320 national, state, and local child and youth advocacy organizations to send a letter to Congress in support of the bipartisan Dream Act of 2017. The bill would provide lawful status and a path to citizenship for hundreds of thousands of immigrant youth and young adults who came to the United States as children, including recipients of the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program.
The letter urges Congress to quickly pass a clean Dream Act that protects immigrant youth from the severe consequences of President Trump’s decision to end DACA. Right now, more than 800,000 Dreamers who have been able to access work authorization and protection from deportation are once again facing an uncertain future.
“CLASP stands with immigrant youth and over 300 organizations in calling on Congress to quickly pass the Dream Act,” said Olivia Golden, executive director of CLASP. “This is critical not only for Dreamers’ wellbeing and success, but for that of their families, including hundreds of thousands of young children who have DACA parents. The Dream Act is common-sense legislation that will help ensure every child has the opportunity to realize their potential, which is key to our nation's future.”
As organizations concerned with the health and wellbeing of children and youth, the signatories recognize that rescinding DACA will have immediate, severe consequences for recipients and their families. Recipients will lose their work authorization and once again be at risk for deportation, threatening their safety, economic security, and mental health—as well as that of their families. An estimated 25 percent of DACA recipients are parents to U.S. citizen children. The decision also means that more than 200,000 Dreamers under age 15 who were waiting to age into DACA no longer have the opportunity to apply.
"Our 66,000 pediatrician, pediatric medical subspecialist and pediatric surgical specialist members stand with the young immigrants facing an uncertain future by supporting passage of a clean Dream Act of 2017,” said Fernando Stein, president of the American Academy of Pediatrics. “As they grew into young adults, DACA recipients have served our country in uniform, they have graduated from our colleges and universities, they have invested in our communities and they work in our cities and towns. Our country is the only meaningful home these children—who are now young adults—have ever known. The Dream Act will allow them to remain here, where they belong.”
“The bipartisan Dream Act of 2017 will provide Dreamers—including our youngest Dreamers—educational and employment opportunities ripped away when the president ended DACA,” said Marian Wright Edelman, president of the Children’s Defense Fund. “It will also provide an eventual path to citizenship for these young people, strengthening their futures and the future of our nation.”
“Dreamers deserve permanent legal status,” said Bruce Lesley, president of First Focus Campaign for Children. “For these young people, the United States is home, and now the termination of DACA has put their futures at risk. Many have no connection to the countries where they were born. The Dream Act would ensure that hardworking young people who arrived here as children are able to pursue their dreams and contribute to our nation’s prosperity.”
“In California, DACA provided over 220,000 immigrant youth a pathway to achieve their dreams. Rescinding the program has caused fear and panic—putting children and youth at higher risk of anxiety and depression and harming their healthy development,” said Mayra E. Alvarez, president of The Children’s Partnership. “As advocates for children, we understand that this policy extends far beyond its intended recipients. If DACA parents are detained, deported, and/or unable to work legally, their children could lose housing, struggle to get food, and fall into poverty. The American values of hard work and fairness are part of every family who calls this country home. We join our partners and urge leaders to put our nation’s values into action through passage of the Dream Act.”
“Our young people—and our country—are strongest when they embrace diversity. Our country needs to practice the same social-emotional skills that we teach our children and youth,” said Karen Pittman, president and CEO of the Forum for Youth Investment. “Dreamers embody empathy, teamwork, responsibility, initiative, problem solving, and love. Disrupting the lives of nearly one million DACA youth hurts us all. It undermines our moral, social, and economic values and teaches the wrong lessons to all our young people.”
The signatories are committed to ensuring that all children and youth in the U.S. have the opportunity to thrive. As stated in the letter, “the Dream Act of 2017 is bipartisan legislation that reflects the full diversity of the Dreamer population, including those who are parents, and will help ensure all eligible children and youth have the opportunity to pursue their educational and career goals.”
On September 6, 2017, First Focus Campaign for Children submitted the following letter to Senators Richard Durbin and Lindsey Graham, thanking them for the reintroduction of The DREAM Act of 2017 (S.1615). This bill would protect the nearly 800,000 undocumented children and adults who were brought to the United States through no fault of their own.
On September 5, 2017, the Trump Administration formally rescinded the DACA program. Congress must act to protect DACA recipients.
In a joint press conference on Thursday, July 20th Senator Lindsey Graham (R-SC) and Sen. Dick Durbin (D-IL) announced the reintroduction of the DREAM Act, a bill to provide legal status and a path to citizenship for certain long-term residents who entered the U.S. as children. This bill is a bipartisan effort to create a way for nearly 800,000 undocumented children and adults (known as DREAMers), who were brought to the U.S. at no fault of their own, to gain permanent legal status and to pursue their educational and employment goals without threat of deportation.
The DREAM Act of 2017 would address the plight of undocumented youth living in the U.S., many of whom were brought to the U.S. at a young age, have been educated in American schools, and consider the U.S. their only home. Undocumented youth who graduate from high school face significant barriers to everything typically associated with youth of that age, including driving, working, and access to higher education. Reducing these barriers will allow them to increase their contributions to their communities.