Action Alert

Urgent: Tell Congress to Pass the Keep Families Together Act Now!

June 16, 2018

Urge Congress to pass the Keep Families Together Act (S. 3036) to prohibit the separation of children from their parents.

S. 3036—the Keep Families Together Act—can stop the inhumane practice of taking children away from their parents who are trying to enter the United States—and the NAACP supports and urges its immediate enactment

What You Can Do to Help

  • See and send the sample letter at the end of this page below (plus instructions where to email/fax/U.S. Post Office mail), and/or
  • Call your U.S. Capitol Switchboard at (202) 224-3121, ask to speak to your state’s Senators and Congressional Representatives and tell them that tearing apart children from their parents is immoral and un-American and must be stopped immediately.

Issue Overview:

  • In the six weeks between mid-April and the end of May of this year, over 2,000 children were separated from their parents.
  • There have been cases in which immigrant families are being separated after coming to ports of entry and presenting themselves for asylum — thus following US law.
  • There is no U.S. law requiring the separation of children from their families simply because their parents were seeking a better life in the U.S. In light of recent actions we need strong policy and we need it NOW.
  • Again, tearing apart children from their parents is immoral and un-American and must be stopped immediately.

Issue Details:

Under a new policy designed and enforced by the current administration and being led by the Department of Justice and the Department of Homeland Security:

Immigrant families trying to enter the United States – either illegally or through legal means, which includes presenting themselves at a designated U.S. Port of Entry and stating that they are seeking asylum – are separated;

  • with the parents going to jail
  • and the children being sent to foster care or more often government detention facilities.

This is occurring with alarming frequency:

In the six weeks between mid-April and the end of May of this year, over 2,000 children were separated from their parents:

  • Typically, people apprehended crossing into the US are held in immigration detention and sent before an immigration judge to see if they will be deported as unauthorized immigrants.
  • But migrants who have been referred for criminal prosecution, as is now happening, get sent to a federal jail and brought before a federal judge a few weeks later to see if they’ll get prison time.
  • That’s where justification for the separation occurs — because you can’t be kept with your children in federal jail.
  • There are also some cases in which immigrant families are being separated after coming to ports of entry and presenting themselves for asylum — thus following U.S. law.

In an effort to stop these now-daily atrocities, two Senators— Senators Dianne Feinstein and Kamala Harris (both from California)—have introduced with urgency , S. 3036, the Keep Families Together Act, with the support of more than 30 of their colleagues thus far.

This legislation, which was developed in consultation with child welfare experts including the American Academy of Pediatrics, is intended to ensure that the federal government is acting in the best interest of children.

It would stop the separation of children from their families, except in extreme circumstances in which the child is judged to be in imminent danger:

“An agent or officer of a designated agency shall be prohibited from removing a child from his or her parent or legal guardian, at or near the port of entry or within 100 miles of the border of the United States.”

Ripping families apart is immoral and un-American.

There is no law requiring the separation of children from their families simply because their parents were seeking a better life in the U.S. In light of recent actions we need strong policy and we need it now.

The NAACP supports S. 3036, the Keep Families Together Act., and urge its immediate enactment.
 



THE ACTION WE NEED YOU TO TAKE

Contact your Representative and both your Senators and URGE THEM TO WORK AGAINST THE SEPARATION OF FAMILIES AND TO SUPPORT S. 3036, THE KEEP FAMILIES TOGETHER ACT.

How to Contact your Senators and Representative

• Make a Phone Call:

Call your Senators and your Representative in Washington by dialing the U.S. Capitol Switchboard and asking to be transferred to your Senators’/Congressional Representative’s offices. The U.S. Capitol Switchboard main phone number is (202) 224-3121 (see message section, below).

• Send an E-Mail

To send an e-mail to your Senators, go to www.senate.gov; click on “Find Your Senators”. Look up your Senators by state; go to their web sites for e-mail addresses.

To send an e-mail to your Representative, go to www.house.gov, and click on “Find Your Representative” (on the right hand side of the screen) and enter your zip code. This should take you to a screen that identifies who your Representative is and how to get in touch with him or her.

• Write a Letter and Send by U.S Mail or Fax

REMEMBER TO CONTACT BOTH YOUR SENATORS!
See Sample Letter Below

U.S. MAIL

To mail your letter to your Senators, send them to:

The Honorable (name of Senator)
U.S. Senate
Washington, D.C. 20510

To mail your letter to your Congressional Representative, send it to:

The Honorable (name of Representative)
U.S. House of Representatives
Washington, D.C. 20515

FAX

If you would like to send a fax, call your Senators’ or Representative’s offices (through the Capitol switchboard) and ask for their fax numbers (you can use either the attached sample letter or the message box, below).


Sample Letter

(Date)

The Honorable ___________________________

United States Senate / House of Representatives

Washington, D.C. 20510 / 20515

RE: MY STAUNCH OPPOSITION TO SEPARATING CHILDREN FROM THEIR PARENTS
Dear Senator / Representative __________________;

As your constituent, I urge you, in the strongest terms possible, to support legislation which would make it clear that children should not be taken away from their parents in cases in which their only “crime” was trying to make a better life for their family in the United States. We must do more than talk about what an atrocity this policy is – we must act. Ripping families apart is immoral and un-American.

The Administration’s current policy of “zero tolerance” has resulted in over 2,000 children being taken from their families in just six weeks. Ripping families apart is immoral and un-American. There is no law requiring the separation of children from their families simply because their parents were seeking a better life in the U.S. In light of recent actions we need strong policy and we need it now. I strongly support S. 3036, the Keep Families Together Act., and urge its immediate enactment.

This legislation, which was developed in consultation with child welfare experts including the American Academy of Pediatrics, is intended to ensure that the federal government is acting in the best interest of children. It would stop the separation of children from their families, except in extreme circumstances in which the child is judged to be in imminent danger. “An agent or officer of a designated agency shall be prohibited from removing a child from his or her parent or legal guardian, at or near the port of entry or within 100 miles of the border of the United States.”

Please do all you can to see that these children are not separated from their parents. The time to act is now; the need is immediate. Please let me know what you are doing, and what more I can do to help.

Sincerely,

(sign and print your name and remember to include your address)


Contact your Representative and BOTH of your Senators and urge them to work against the separation of families and to support S. 3036, the Keep Families Together Act

Thank you for your attention to this important matter. You may also download the above Action Alert here as a PDF.

If you have any questions, contact Hilary Shelton, Director, NAACP Washington Bureau at (202) 463-2940.