EL PASO, TX — Today, U.S. Sen. Sherrod Brown (D-OH) visited the U.S. border with Mexico and met with advocates and those who have been working with migrants and their families as the humanitarian crisis continues at the border. Brown reiterated his call for an end to the administration’s family separation policy, which has worsened the crisis at the border and led to abhorrent and unsanitary conditions for children and families.

“Today’s visit underscored the inhumanity and coldness of President Trump’s family separation policy. Connie and I met today with children and families who are coming to our country to flee violence and persecution, seeking a better life for their families. Tearing them apart and locking them in cages isn’t going to fix our broken immigration policy and it goes against the values that make this country great.  It’s past time the President end this policy, stop with the divisive rhetoric and name-calling, and work with Congress to find a solution that secures our borders while creating a pathway for people to earn citizenship,” said Brown.  

Last week, Brown cosponsored the Stop Cruelty to Migrant Children Act. This new legislation, supported by more than three dozen Senators, would put an end to the Trump administration’s cruel and neglectful treatment of children at the U.S.-Mexico border and reform how children fleeing persecution are treated between the moment at which they arrive at our borders to claim asylum and the ultimate resolution of their asylum case.  

Brown is also supporting legislation that would guarantee that children can remain with their parents and make sure all families are reunited. The Keep Families Together Act would keep immigrant families together by preventing the Department of Homeland Security from taking children from their parents at the border.

The Keep Families Together Act was developed in consultation with child welfare experts to ensure the federal government is acting in the best interest of children. The bill allows immigrant children to be separated from their parents only in the event they are being trafficked or abused by their parents. To provide an additional layer of protection, the bill provides for an immediate review by a superior upon the recommendation to separate, and only after consultation with a child welfare expert.

Last month, Brown voted for emergency funding to improve conditions for children and families seeking asylum at the southern border and curb President Trump’s policies that have furthered the migrant crisis at the border.  

Brown also joined colleagues in calling for the federal government to investigate federal contractors in charge of facilities where children are being kept at the U.S. southern border. The letters to the Government Accountability Office and the Suspension and Debarment official and Inspector General at the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services were sent after disturbing reports of hungry, sick, and dirty children being held in federal contractor facilities near the border.

All three letters urged government officials to decide if federal contractors and grantees are in breach of contractual obligations or federal regulations and should therefore face financial consequences.

For a PDF copy of the letters, click here.