Rep. Richmond Joins Colleagues in Introducing House Companion to the Keep Families Together Act

June 19, 2018
Press Release
Seeks to End Separation of Families at our Borders

WASHINGTON DC- Congressman Cedric Richmond (LA-02) released the following statement after introducing the “Keep Families Together Act” in the House of Representatives:

“Family separation at our borders is cruel and violates our values as a country,” said Rep. Richmond.  “The reality is the unnecessary suffering experienced by these families was caused by the President with the stroke of a pen and can just as easily be reversed.  Reasonable citizens can disagree on the nuances of immigration policy, but we should all be able to agree that no person should be subjected to this horrendous treatment.  If the President is not compassionate enough to reverse his policy, Congress must act.”

The Keep Families Together Act is currently supported by 49 Members of the United States Senate and more than 190 Members of the United States House of Representatives.  The Keep Families Together Act would:

  • Prohibit Department of Homeland Security (DHS) officials from separating children from their parents, except in extraordinary circumstances.  In these limited circumstances, separation could not occur unless parental rights have been terminated, a child welfare agency has issued a best interest determination, or the Port Director or the Chief Border Patrol agent of Customs and Border Protection (CBP) have approved separation due to trafficking indicators or other concerns of risk to the child;
  • Restricts the prosecution of parents who are asylum seekers by adopting the recommendation of the DHS Office of Inspector General.  The bill delays prosecutions for asylum seekers and creates an affirmative defense for asylum seekers;
  • Require all CBP officers and agents to complete child welfare training on an annual basis;
  • Establish a preference for family unity, discourage the separation of siblings, and create a presumption that detention is not in the best interests of families and children;
  • Require DHS to develop policies and procedures allowing parents and children to locate each other and reunite if they have been separated.   Such procedures must be public and made available in a language that parents can understand.  In cases of separation, it requires DHS to provide parents with a weekly report containing information about a child, and weekly phone communication; and
  • Require a report on the separation of families every six months.