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 protect the welfare of children crossing our borders.

Since last year, UNICEF USA has spoken out against a proposal to deter migration by arresting parents and forcibly separating them from children. 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 traumatic 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

Policies that promote child protection should remain a priority for government agencies operating along the United States southern border. While Executive Order 13841 rescinded the practice of separating children from their families, UNICEF USA encourages our nation’s leadership to address those children who were already separated from their parents and remain in detention. 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 On the Move and Keep Families Together

We are joining other organizations that care about children to call on Congress to stop the traumatic practices of separating families. 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 limit the separation of families and require the development of training and guidance on child trauma for border agents and officers, in favor of family unity and against detention. Please contact your Members of Congress to urge them to cosponsor this bill to protect children at our borders.