Sandoval 090618 webCHICAGO – State Senator Martin A. Sandoval (D-Chicago) condemned the Trump Administration Thursday for yet another power grab to prolong the detention of immigrant children separated from their parents at the border.

“I’m repulsed and saddened that, as I speak, there are scared, lonely children in the custody of the United States of America and they have no idea where their parents are or if they will ever see them again,” Sandoval said. “On top of that, our government agencies don’t know where these children’s parents are, so their solution is to seek indefinite detention. Every day, I run out of words to describe the depths of the depravity of this situation and this presidential administration.”

The latest directive from Trump’s team was announced Thursday morning when Homeland Security Chief Kirstjen Nielsen announced the department would “circumvent limits” on the government’s ability to hold minors in immigration jails by withdrawing from a court settlement that has shaped the U.S. handling of detained minors since 1997.

“We’ve read countless horror stories about children that have been reunited with their families but don’t remember them or have been abused in custody,” Sandoval said. “This is a human rights violation. Period. The administration should be pouring hours into returning these children to their families, not focusing immense legal energies to find loopholes to detain them longer.”

The proposed change in regulation would have to be published for at least 60 days before it is official and court challenges are expected after that period.

In the spring, Trump made the short-lived orders to separate families and nearly 3,000 children were ripped from their parents’ arms. The effects are still being felt. As of last week, more than 500 children were still in federal custody without their parents.

“I understand this administration gives us a lot to talk, think and be outraged about,” Sandoval said. “Every day you read the news and think the presidency can’t possibly stoop any lower. While it’s important to pay attention to all of it, we can’t ever let anyone forget the human toll this child separation policy bears on our society.”

Sandoval said while the news is another setback, there is reason to believe the courts are still acting on behalf of human rights. In July, Justice Department lawyers were denied permission to detain children and parents together until their cases are adjudicated, a process that can take months.

“With this announcement, I don’t know how anyone could still have any doubts that the president is anti-immigrant, anti-Mexican and anti-American ideals,” Sandoval said. “We must keep resisting, and we must keep speaking out, because through it all we are still the United States of America, and we are bigger than the tyranny of any one man.”

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Springfield Office:
Senator 12th District
111 Capitol Building
Springfield, IL 62706
217-782-5304

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Cicero, IL 60804
708-656-2002