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 2017, UNICEF USA has spoken out against a proposal to deter migration by arresting parents and forcibly separating them from children. A report released in September 2019 by the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) inspector general reinforces the fact that family separation has a severely negative impact on the health, development, and overall well-being of children. Most recently, in June 2020, a federal judge ordered ICE to release children being held in family detention facilities due to the rising number of coronavirus cases. UNICEF USA has joined other organizations in requesting the release of parents and caregivers of these children as well in order to avoid further harming these children and their families.

Alongside partners such as the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP), UNICEF USA has communicated directly to U.S government officials and members of Congress concerns regarding the detention of children (with or without families) and family separations, noting that these practices have traumatic effects on children that can cause lasting damage to their mental, emotional and physical well-being. UNICEF USA’s stance is that whatever the immigration issues, separating children from their families is traumatic and can cause irreversible harm.

Policies that promote child protection should remain a priority for government agencies operating along the United States southern border. While the Administration rescinded the policy of separating children from their families, families still face the risk of indefinite detention, even with children; and many children who had already been separated from their parents remain in detention. The detention of children - even 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.

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. 541 / S. 292) 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. 

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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. 541 / S. 292) 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.