In June I wrote a letter to the Pulse decrying the policy of our government in separating children from their moms and dads at our Southern border. Apparently a federal judge agreed with me requiring reunification of families and an end to separation. Though many families have been reunited, the problem remains that there are still children detained for one reason or another because of no planning or review of the Justice Department’s “Zero Tolerance” policy before it was thrust upon us.
Senator Tammy Baldwin is leading her colleagues in the Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions (HELP) Committee calling for an oversight hearing on efforts by the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) to reunite the remaining families affected by the policy. This hearing would allow for examination of the standards of care, staffing ratios, credentials for contractors and other conditions and practices at the Office of Refugee Resettlement facilities, to ensure that the remaining children as well as the real unaccompanied minors in the Office’s custody are cared for properly.
Prior to December 2017, Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) only detained a pregnant woman if she was a threat to herself or others or was a public safety risk. Under the new DOJ policy, pregnant women in ICE detention do not have access to appropriate prenatal care and some have miscarried in detention.
Senator Baldwin has taken action to protect the health and safety of pregnant women and youth in ICE detention by cosponsoring the Stop Shackling and Detaining Pregnant Women Act. This act will reinstate the presumption against detention of pregnant women and youth, set minimum standards of health care, prohibit shackling and require public reporting on the detention of pregnant women.
It’s astonishing that minimum humanitarian standards are not upheld by our current administration and that this legislation is even needed! Thanks, Senator Baldwin, for standing for Wisconsin values.
Becky Van Houten
Fish Creek, Wis.