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Denouncing New Federal Bills That Would Obliterate Critical Protections for Immigrant Children

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All children — including children seeking safety when they arrive in the U.S. from all over the world — deserve protections that promote their health and well-being. It is for this reason that the National Center for Youth Law strongly condemns new legislation, S. 1473,  introduced by Senators Kyrsten Sinema (I-AZ) and Thom Tillis (R-NC), and companion H.R. 3234, introduced by Representatives Jared Golden (D-ME) and Brian Fitzpatrick (R-PA).

This legislation, requiring the wholesale detention and expulsion of children, would actively harm tens of thousands of children. The bills' scant exception and waiver provisions are insufficient to prevent returning children to danger.

The National Center for Youth Law is co-counsel in Flores, which governs the detention, treatment, and release of all children in immigration custody. As Flores counsel we conduct site visits and interview children held in immigration custody. We have witnessed the profound physical and mental harm inflicted upon children detained in crowded and inhumane detention facilities. We have heard children describe harrowing accounts of the danger and violence that they faced when they were expelled under Title 42.

“There is no defensible justification for detaining and then returning vulnerable children seeking safety to the very harms from which they are fleeing,” said National Center for Youth Law attorney Melissa Adamson, Flores counsel. “If implemented, this legislation will be directly responsible for inflicting grave harm on children. We call upon the Senate and House to reject these efforts and instead support solutions that center children’s safety and well-being.”

The National Center for Youth Law remains deeply committed to protecting and defending children’s rights, which, unfortunately, remain under assault.