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Bonamici Presses HHS Secretary on Separating Immigrant Children from Parents

June 6, 2018
Press Release


WASHINGTON, DC [06/06/18] – Today Congresswoman Suzanne Bonamici, a leader on the House Education and the Workforce Committee, questioned Health and Human Services Secretary Alex Azar about the Trump Administration’s decision to separate children from their parents during immigration proceedings. The Office of Refugee Resettlement is under the Department of Health and Human Services.


“I join the millions of people across this country who are appalled at the policy of ripping children away from their parents. I’m very concerned. I hope that you as an advisor to the President will take that message from the people around this country,” Congresswoman Suzanne Bonamici told Health and Human Services Secretary Azar. “A woman was severely beaten by a gang in El Salvador. She left with her two young children and at the US border they were ripped out of her arms. She was seeking asylum in the United States. They were crying and scared. They are among the increasing numbers of children placed in your custody following the Administration’s appalling decision to separate children at the border. I’m a mother, you’re a father. The Office of Refugee Resettlement’s website states its primary consideration is the best interests of the children. Is a policy of separating children from their parents in the best interests of those children?”


Citing a recent visit by Sen. Jeff Merkley (D-OR), Bonamici pressed Azar about whether the Administration had adequate resources to care for all the additional children being separated from their parents and to adequately fulfill each child’s safety, health, and welfare needs.


You can watch the exchange here.