NEW HAVEN, CT, Aug. 21, 2019 – Congresswoman Rosa DeLauro (CT-03) today released the following statement in response to the Department of Homeland Security and the Department of Health and Human Services announcement of a new set of regulations for detaining migrant children, replacing current standards of care under the Flores Agreement.
It is appalling that the Trump Administration is proposing to undo the most basic child-welfare standards of care for children at the border. It is clear that this has been their intention all along. I have long voiced concerns with even current standards of care. The influx facilities, which are still operational, are not even required to adhere to these standards. What would the Trump Administration do if these standards were not in place as the basic minimum standards we have for these children?
The mission of the Office of Refugee Resettlement is to provide care and the expeditious placement for children with sponsors, not setting up an indefinite, detention empire. We must be taking the necessary steps to care for children in the least restrictive setting possible and place them in a safe setting with a family member or sponsor as expeditiously as possible. In addition, I continue to press for the termination of the memorandum of agreement between the Department of Health and Human Services and the Department of Homeland Security, which is a deterrent to people who would otherwise be willing to come forward as sponsors. And we need to be prioritizing a safe discharge process as opposed to simply expanding detention capacity. That should be our main goal as it is the stated mission of ORR. We have a legal and moral responsibility to conduct oversight of the unaccompanied children program and to ensure these children are being taken care of. Given the Trump Administration’s history on this issue, our responsibility as elected officials and as people is heightened. We cannot allow systematic, government-sanctioned child abuse on our watch.