June 20, 2018

Senator Hassan: “These Past Few Weeks Have Truly Been an Affront to our American Values”

ChildSeperationFloorSpeech

Click here for footage of the Senator’s speech. 

WASHINGTON – Senator Maggie Hassan spoke on the Senate floor this evening about the lasting damage inflicted by President Trump’s policy of separating children from their families at the border.

“I rise today to join my Democratic colleagues – and millions of Americans – who have been appalled and outraged at the humanitarian crisis that President Trump has created on our southern border.” Senator Hassan said. “By now, we have all witnessed this horrifying reality. The images of children being held in cages, the cries of screaming kids who have no idea where their parents are being taken or if they will see them again.”

The Senator added, “Let’s be clear – the President created this crisis. And over the past days and weeks, the President and his Administration made false claim after false claim saying that there was nothing they could do to reverse the President’s own actions. The fact that the President bowed to pressure and signed an executive order today cannot undo the trauma that has already been inflicted. We cannot forget about the children and parents that remain separated tonight, and immediate action must be taken to reunite children with their families.”

See below for Senator Hassan’s full remarks or watch the speech here:

 

Thank you Mr. President, and I want to begin tonight by thanking my colleague Senator Merkley for his leadership on this issue. I rise today to join my Democratic colleagues – and millions of Americans – who have been appalled and outraged at the humanitarian crisis that President Trump has created on our southern border.

Make no mistake, these past few weeks have truly been an affront to our American values.

By now, we have all witnessed the horrifying reality. The images of children being held in cages, the cries of screaming kids who have no idea where their parents are being taken or if they’ll ever see them again.

The Department of Homeland Security announced that between May 5 and June 9, the Department took 2,300 children – approximately 70 children per day – from their parents. 

And pediatricians, psychologists, and health professionals have made clear the lasting harm of these forced separations. 

According to experts, when children are forcibly removed from their parents, the amount of toxic stress can cause neurons in the brain to be killed off – leaving damage that impacts brain development and that could cause long-term behavioral health issues. Although no parent needs a doctor to actually tell them that.

The fact that our government has engaged in this type of physical and psychological damage to children is morally reprehensible.

These actions have been unacceptable and completely unnecessary.

Let’s be clear – the President created this crisis.

And over the past days and weeks, the President and his Administration made false claim after false claim saying that there was nothing they could do to reverse the President’s own actions. 

The fact that the President bowed to pressure and signed an executive order today cannot undo the trauma that’s already been inflicted.

We cannot forget about the children and parents that remain separated tonight, and immediate action must be taken to reunite children with their families.

Earlier tonight, there were reports that the Department of Health and Human Services will not make special efforts to reunite children who have already been separated from families because of the President’s actions. We cannot – and will not – accept this continued brutality. The President must act immediately to reunite these children with their parents, surely the United States government is capable of that.

In the United States of America, we must work to secure our border in a manner that reflects our values. And I am committed to working with anyone on comprehensive, bipartisan immigration reform.

Mr. President, separating children from their families was an abhorrent policy to pursue and it will forever mark a dark and shameful period in our country’s history.

Thank you, Mr. President. I yield the floor.

 

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