Butler Introduces Immigration Amendments To National Security Supplemental

Amendments Would Ensure Legal Representation For Unaccompanied Minors, $267 Million In Support For Separated Families

Washington, D.C. – Today, U.S. Senator Laphonza Butler (D-CA) filed two immigration amendments to the national security supplemental, intended to align U.S. border policy with the American values of compassion and humanity.

“We cannot keep putting off our responsibility to address this urgent problem at our border,” said Senator Butler. “My amendment would provide legal representation for unaccompanied minors in immigration court proceedings, ensuring children’s rights and well-being are protected as they migrate in search of safety.

“I have also introduced an amendment to address the ramifications of the Trump Administration’s policy to deliberately separate families, which has led to long-lasting and detrimental effects on both the parents and the children. It would give families who have been victims of this trauma, and later reunited by the Family Reunification Task Force, access to resettlement and support services and a pathway to become lawful permanent residents.

“We must stop leaving it to the next generation to figure out the problems we’ve been tasked with solving. We owe it to them to create a world and country they will want to inherit, and this starts by keeping to the promises we made to stop passing the buck and start the work. By championing these amendments, we uphold that promise to keep our principles of justice and compassion and reaffirm our commitment to the most vulnerable among us.” 

More on the amendments:

One of Senator Butler’s amendments would ensure that unaccompanied minors are not left to navigate the complexities of our legal system alone. This amendment would provide government-funded counsel to any unaccompanied child under the age of eighteen. Access to legal representation helps ensure minors understand their rights and receive equitable treatment during immigration court proceedings. This amendment reflects Senator Butler’s unwavering dedication to swiftly tackle issues affecting youth. By safeguarding the rights of minors at the border, we lay the groundwork for providing the next generation with the opportunities and tools to succeed and ensure a commitment to fair and just treatment under the law.

Senator Butler introduced an additional amendment that would help address trauma resulting from the Trump Administration’s family separation policy. This amendment would grant the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) the authority to support families who have been reunified by the Family Reunification Task Force and make them eligible for the same assistance and benefits that other parolees receive, such as family support services, legal services and representation, and public benefits. This amendment would increase funding for these families by $267 million. In addition, the Secretary of Homeland Security would be able to give reunited families lawful permanent resident status after meeting the requisite criteria. Children should never be deliberately ripped away from their families, and it is imperative we provide the survivors of this unimaginable policy the resources they need.

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