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ICYMI: Kelly says DHS won't separate families at the border

Washington, DC — According to a CNN report, US Secretary of Homeland Security John Kelly told Senate Democrats yesterday that he does not intend to separate mothers and children seeking refuge at the border. This comes after previous statements that the agency was considering separation as a deterrent.

The Women’s Refugee Commission (WRC) is pleased with this development, as it affirms what WRC has long known to be true – that separating asylum seekers' families in an effort to punish them for seeking protection and to deter other families from coming to the U.S. is cruel, un-American, illegal, and ineffective.

This news comes in the wake of advocacy by the WRC to bring attention to the issue of family separation at the border, which was documented in our recently released report: Betraying Family Values: How Immigration Policy at the US Border is Separating Families. This report details the ways in which family separation traumatizes children and parents, impedes access to asylum, and can lead to permanent separation of children from their parents

WRC also presented testimony on family separation yesterday at a Forum hosted by the Women’s Working Group on Immigration Reform, in which House Democrats and women’s rights organizations, faith leaders and the medical community called on the Administration to move away from its proposal to separate families.

According to Michelle Brané, Director of the Migrant Rights and Justice Program at the Women’s Refugee Commission:

“Secretary Kelly’s statement that he will not separate families at the border is a victory for American values and principles of protection and human rights. Mothers seeking to protect their children are not deterred by policies aimed at punishing them. Denying protection to women and children seeking safety at our borders drives them into the hands of traffickers and smugglers. The Women’s Refugee Commission encourages Secretary Kelly to meet with experts who understand these dynamics and can provide insights into the consequences of enforcement policies on national security, regional stability and international human rights law. We appreciate the Secretary’s assurances and look forward to seeing an end to the needless separation of families.”


For more information contact: Michelle Brané, MichelleB@wrcommission.orgTessa Wiseman, tessa@newpartners.com

Also see WRC’s 10 Things to Know About How Trump’s Executive Order Will Harm Women and Children Seeking Protection here