Ask Congress to Keep Families Together

UNICEF is working with local partners to support the needs of migrants at emergency shelters like this one, run by Sister Norma Pimentel, at the Sacred Heart Church in McAllen, Texas.
© UNICEF USA

Enter your information below to stop the traumatic practice of detaining children and families at our borders.

Since last year, UNICEF USA has spoken out against a U.S. Government policy proposal to separate children from adults when entering the country illegally at the southern border. In January 2018, UNICEF USA President and CEO Caryl Stern joined other executives from child-focused organizations to author a letter to Department of Homeland Security (DHS) Secretary Nielsen, opposing this policy. UNICEF USA’s stance is that whatever the immigration issues, separating children from their families at border crossings is cruel and traumatic to them, and can cause irreversible harm. Click here for more information on how UNICEF is mobilizing to protect migrant children in the U.S. 

Children need to be defined by their age, not their borders. Regardless of immigration status, children are children first and need to be treated as such. -Caryl Stern, President and CEO of UNICEF USA

While UNICEF USA is glad to see the issue of children’s protection at the border garner attention within our government, the Executive Order signed by President Trump on June 20 is not in the best interests of these vulnerable children. It does not address the more than 2,000 children already separated from their parents and only trades family separation for indefinite family detention. This is not a solution. Detention - even for the shortest period and with family members - is still harmful to children’s health and well-being. In addition to being at risk of exploitation and abuse, children are often denied meaningful mental health and medical care, as well as their right to learn and play.

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Protect Children at Our Borders

We are joining other organizations that care about children to call on Congress to stop the traumatic practices of separating families and detaining children at our borders. The Keep Families Together Act (H.R. 6135 / S.3036) was developed in consultation with child welfare experts, such as the American Academy of Pediatrics, to ensure the federal government is acting in the best interest of children. Introduced by Senator Dianne Feinstein (D-CA) in the Senate and Representative Jerrold Nadler (D-NY-10) in the House, this legislation would make it U.S. law to avoid family separation and child detention. Please contact your Members of Congress to urge them to cosponsor this bill to protect children at our borders.