Murphy moves to strengthen immigration bill to protect children (with video)
WASHINGTON –Today, U.S.
Sen. Chris Murphy, D-Conn., spoke on the U.S. Senate floor about an
amendment he introduced to the immigration bill being
debated in the Senate, according to a release.
"Murphy’s amendment would prohibit immigrant children
from being detained in adult detention facilities, where they face a higher
risk of physical and sexual abuse. Recently, it has been reported that scores
of immigrant children have been placed in adult detention facilities over the
last five years – some for as long as three months at a time – even though
current law prohibits most children from being detained in adult facilities," the release says.
"For example, there have been cases of immigrant teenagers who are picked up by
law enforcement on their own, without any family members, because they appear
to be over 18 years old. In these adult detention centers, immigrant children
risk being subjected to physical and sexual abuse at much higher rates, as well
as threats to mental health from being placed in solitary confinement," the release says.
“While we need to treat all immigrants who come here
without documentation fairly, we must give certain protections to immigrant
children,” Murphy said, also in the release. “It's unfair to treat them as adults because the
fact is, they aren't. If it's appropriate to detain a minor who has been picked
up without family members, he or she needs to be detained separately from
adults. There's a significantly higher risk of abuse for children in detention
facilities and we can't allow them to remain in these facilities vulnerable to
truly nightmarish abuse scenarios. My amendment will help ensure that children
in DHS custody are protected from abuse and trauma, and I hope my colleagues
will work with me to include it in the larger immigration bill.”
The release also said Murphy’s amendment would:
detaining children in adult detention facilities. This would not bar the
Department of Homeland Security from keeping children together with family
members in family units and facilities
·Ensure that existing statutory protections are not affected
Require a report and general record keeping on where and how immigrant
children are housed, and whether or not they are represented by counsel
Ensure the best interests of the child should be the main consideration
in transferring or releasing them
Editor's note: All information in this post was contributed. Click one of the buttons below to share it.
The Connecticut State Politics blog covers news of New Haven politics and from the seat of Connecticut's government and the state's elected leaders with a variety original reporting from Journal Register Connecticut staff, links to stories from other media and politics blogs, press releases, statements and more.