Since the beginning of 2019, more than 500,000 children, women and men have crossed the southern border of the United States seeking asylum from violence and trying to escape extreme poverty. Families are walking for weeks or even months with little food, water or shelter only to find themselves in unsafe U.S. detention centers.
The situation on our southern border is not a partisan issue; it is a humanitarian crisis.
Seeking asylum is not a crime. Migrants, and children in particular, deserve to be treated with dignity and respect and to have their human rights upheld. Nonetheless, U.S. officials are systematically failing to protect asylum seekers and failing to care for children entering the U.S.
News reports reveal horrendous conditions in detention centers, including children separated from their families, children denied basic hygiene services and children charged with caring for infants. As an early learning advocate, I know that such neglect is traumatic and detrimental to children’s mental health and well-being.
I urge senators Murray and Cantwell to stand up for children and work with the full U.S. Congress and the Trump Administration to ensure the well-being of these children. The administration must release children from detention centers, safely unite them with their families and respect the rights of all migrants to seek asylum in the U.S.