Stop losing children in protective custody

(Five Days of Action for Children in the Immigration System, Pt. 2)
Official action for Tuesday, May 15

We have our regular Resist Trump Tuesday rally and weekly meeting today. You can find more details at the end of this message. We hope to see you there!

Special Thanks to Alx Dark of Seattle Immigrant Rights Action Group for spearheading this effort.

Don’t forget to fill out our call log so that we can track our impact: https://goo.gl/forms/lbHUvI9h58f0dLqx1

When the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) separates children from their parents, these children enter a system of custody that has historically placed children like them in harm’s way.

On April 26, while testifying before a Senate subcommittee, officials from the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) revealed that in the last year they lost track of nearly 1,500 migrant children that they had placed into the custody of adult sponsors.

Abuse of children under HHS’s supervision is widespread and well-documented. A Frontline documentary, “Trafficked in America” (2018) described how Guatemalan teens were delivered to traffickers by HHS, who then forced the teens to work against their will at a chicken processing plant in Ohio.

And in 2016, the Associated Press reported that dozens of children put into “protective custody” were found to have been sexually assaulted, starved or forced to work for little or no pay. Problems this severe date back to at least the 1990s.

Despite Congressional hearings on these problems, it’s clear that serious harm to children continues.

Action 1: Demand an investigation from Sen. Murray
Sen. Murray sits on the Senate Committee on Health, Education, Labor & Pensions, which has oversight over HHS. Ask the senator to investigate why, when HHS takes custody of children from DHS, the children under their care have been sexually assaulted, starved, forced to work, or even lost.

Sen. Patty Murray--DC 202-224-2621; Seattle 206-553-5545

Action 2: Ask our remaining reps for support
Congress must continue to put a stop to this abysmal treatment of children aggressively, using every power of oversight at their disposal. DHS should abandon its newly proposed plan to check the citizenship status of family members who would otherwise be able to take custody of unaccompanied minors apprehended at the border. And DHS should not be planning to separate more children from their parents while this protective custody system is so fundamentally broken.

Sen. Maria Cantwell--DC 202-224-3441; Seattle 206-220-6400
Rep. Pramila Jayapal--DC 202-225-3106; Seattle 206-674-0040
Rep. Adam Smith--DC 202-225-8901; Renton 425-793-5180

Action 3: Thank the U.S. Senate Committee on Homeland Security & Governmental Affairs
Email the U.S. Senate Committee on Homeland Security & Governmental Affairs, and thank them for their bipartisan oversight of this issue, that has brought so much of this information to light. Ask them continue pursuing this matter with DHS and the Office of Refugee Resettlement in HHS.

Action 4: Thank Rep. Jayapal
Thank Pramila Jayapal for co-sponsoring the Help Separated Families Act of 2018 (H.R. 5414). This bill would allow HHS to place children with relatives regardless of their immigration status (including parents). Other representatives in our state should co-sponsor this bill. Our senators should sponsor an equivalent bill in the senate.

Sources
“Almost 1,500 Migrant Children Placed in Homes by the U.S. Government Went Missing Last Year.” Garnace Burke, Associated Press. TIME, April 26, 2018.
http://time.com/5256734/government-missing-migrant-children/

“Trafficked in America.” Frontline, April 24, 2018.
https://www.pbs.org/w…/frontline/film/trafficked-in-america/

“The Reuniting Immigrant Families Act: A Case Study on California’s Senate Bill 1064.” Yali Lincroft, First Focus Campaign for Children. May 2013.
http://cssr.berkeley.edu/…/The%20reuniting%20immigrant%20fa…

“Oversight of HHS and DHS Efforts to Protect Unaccompanied Alien Children from Human Trafficking and Abuse.” U.S. Senate Committee on Homeland Security and Government Affairs Hearing, April 26, 2018.
https://www.hsgac.senate.gov/…/oversight-of-hhs-and-dhs-eff…
 


Events Today

Resist Trump Tuesday
11:45 a.m.-12:30 p.m.: The Federal Building, 915 Second Ave, Seattle, WA 98104

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Weekly Meeting
7-9 p.m.: Washington State Labor Council, 321 16th Ave S, Seattle, WA 98144
https://www.facebook.com/events/1657913504287897/?event_time_id=1657913677621213


Good News

Seattle City Council passes the head tax 9-0, albeit in reduced form:
https://www.seattletimes.com/…/seattle-city-council-votes-…/

Do you have an idea for a future daily action? If so, please e-mail us at daily-action@seattleindivisible.com.