WASHINGTON, D.C. -- US Senator Jeff Merkley (D-OR) joined three other Democrats Wednesday to introduce new federal legislation to protect immigrant children held at the border. It’s called the Children’s Safe Welcome Act.
"It says our immigration system was set up for adults. But we’re going to make sure that it is adjusted with appropriate treatment for children," Merkley tells KBND News, "So children are not traumatized, children are not separated from their parents, children have court representation, children have minimum health, safety and nutritional standards that would be thoroughly applied."
Merkley says it’s in response to what he saw during a 2018 visit to a South Texas immigration center, "Four years ago, I went to the border and was the first member of Congress to discover the Trump Administration was ripping children out of their parents’ arms and was locking up hundreds, which became thousands of children, in a deliberate effort to discourage families from seeking asylum by mistreating children."