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Congressman Sires Cosponsors the Keep Families Together Act

Jun 19, 2018
Press Release

(Washington, D.C.) –Today, Congressman Sires joined more than 190 of his fellow House Democrats as an original cosponsor on H.R. 6135, the Keep Families Together Act, introduced by Rep. Jerry Nadler (D-NY).  This bill would prohibit the mass family separation that is a direct result of the Trump Administration’s “zero tolerance” policy.  The introduction of H.R. 6135 follows a visit by Rep. Sires, Rep. Nadler, and five of their colleagues to the ICE detention facility in Elizabeth, NJ to speak with fathers who had been separated from their children.  ICE officials denied the Representatives access for hours before finally relenting and allowing them to meet with the fathers.

“This bill must be passed immediately to end the horrible policy of separating families at the border and ensure that they are reunited without delay.” stated Rep. Sires. “These men fled their home countries with their families in the face of violence to seek asylum in the United States because they feared for their lives and their children’s lives.  Now, they do not even know where their children are or when they will see them again.  I am heartbroken and outraged that the country that welcomed my family when we were fleeing the Castro regime has become a place of such cruelty to those seeking safety.” 

The Keep Families Together Act is a companion bill to legislation introduced in the Senate by Sen. Diane Feinstein earlier this month and would prohibit Department of Homeland Security (DHS) officials from separating families in all but the most extraordinary situations. It would also require DHS to create policies and procedures to help parents and children locate each other and reunite.  In addition, it limits the criminal prosecution of asylum seekers which would prevent families seeking asylum from being prosecuted under the “zero tolerance” policy.

“The Trump Administration has decided that separating thousands of terrified children from their parents and keeping them in detention facilities is an acceptable course of action.  This policy is inhumane, unnecessary, and un-American. I call on my colleagues on both sides of the aisle to support the Keep Families Together Act and bring an end to this cruel policy of separating families at the border" expressed Rep. Sires.