Press Releases

Knight introduces bill to stop child separation

Legislation would keep families together during enforcement procedures

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Washington, DC, June 21, 2018 | Chris Jusuf (202-225-1956) | comments
On Thursday, June 21, 2018, Representative Steve Knight (R-CA) introduced legislation in response to recent reports of children being separated from their parents upon interception of illegal entries into the United States. H.R. 6173 would require the Department of Homeland Security maintain care and custody of adults charged with illegal entry with their children while charges are pending with the Department of Justice. This bill would also authorize $50 million for the construction of facilities to safely and securely hold families while legal proceedings are processed.

"America is a nation under the rule of law, and for very real economic and national security reasons, we cannot have people violating our immigration laws and entering the country illegally,said Rep. Knight "At the same time, however, we are also a compassionate and caring country with a common respect for human dignity as part of our national identity. Recent reports of children, especially those at young ages, who have been separated from their parents without any indication of when or if they will be reunited, deeply disturbed me and many of my colleagues on both sides of the aisle. While I am relieved that the Administration has issued an order to end this practice, it is clear that prohibitions against unjust family separation must written into law."

"This bill simply requires DHS to keep families together throughout the detention, prosecution, or release process. It will not hinder our ability to enforce immigration laws nor will it prevent the separation of children from possibly dangerous or abusive individuals. There are clearly a myriad of issues surrounding the general debate over our nation's immigration policy. However, on this particular issue, I think both sides can agree that the practice of separating children from their families is unnecessarily cruel and does not reflect our national character. I bring this bill forward so that this issue can stand independently of other immigration proposals and provide a quick, clean fix to a problem that should not have arisen in the first place. I urge my colleagues to support it."

Representative Knight is a member of the House Armed Services Committee, House Science, Space, & Technology Committee, and the House Small Business Committee. 
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