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What the kids at the border have to say

Last week, I went back to the Trump Administration's tent city for migrant children in Tornillo, Texas.

And it's simple: these are conditions under which no child on American soil should live.

The dedicated professionals helping run the operation in Tornillo appear to be doing the best they can in circumstances outside their control. There is food, shelter, medical treatment, and educational enrichment available to the children in their care. And yes, the tents we saw were clean and heated and decorated — but that does not make them acceptable.

We are talking about kids no more than seventeen years old, separated from their families and their homes, having endured danger and trauma few of us can imagine to arrive at our borders seeking protection and opportunity.

The children at the border need our help. Join me in supporting the organizations helping them get legal representation and other critical assistance.

Last week, I went back to the Trump Administration's tent city for migrant children in Tornillo, Texas.

And it's simple: these are conditions under which no child on American soil should live.

The dedicated professionals helping run the operation in Tornillo appear to be doing the best they can in circumstances outside their control. There is food, shelter, medical treatment, and educational enrichment available to the children in their care. And yes, the tents we saw were clean and heated and decorated — but that does not make them acceptable.

We are talking about kids no more than seventeen years old, separated from their families and their homes, having endured danger and trauma few of us can imagine to arrive at our borders seeking protection and opportunity.

The children at the border need our help. Join me in supporting the organizations helping them get legal representation and other critical assistance.

Rather than placing the children with family members or sponsors while their immigration cases are heard, the Trump Administration has deliberately put up barriers to reunification that keeps some 13,000 children scattered across 100 different sites in 17 different states.

In fact, the number of children detained in these sites increases daily — not due to any increase in immigration, but because of deliberate choices made by this Administration.

Of the nearly 1,400 children currently housed in Tornillo, over 800 have identified sponsors who are caught in the Trump Administration's inefficient and often unworkable background check system.

A profound lack of legal assistance further stymies the process, as little affirmative effort is made by HHS officials to ensure that every child has access to the aid they need to navigate the legal maze of immigration proceedings.

Our movement has consistently stepped up to fund legal and humanitarian aid. But the crisis is far from over. Make a donation directly to the organizations helping to put families back together.

Speaking in Spanish, one young girl begged us for help finding her family. Another asked if we could take her back to Massachusetts with us so she could be with her family in Lynn. A boy told us he had been in Tornillo for four months and had no advocate to help him find his relatives. Other children nodded in agreement, despite the fact administrators claim the children have access to this assistance. Inexplicably, one administrator said perhaps the kids did not want the help that was offered to them.

Our brief experience begged to differ.

The surging number of migrant children detained for months on end in tent cities are a crisis of the Trump Administration's making. Rather than partner with Congress to address the root causes of migration or pursue a humane immigration policy, they have chosen a politically-driven approach that puts the cost of our broken immigration system squarely on the shoulders of terrified children with nowhere else to go.

Please chip in to support the folks working around the clock to repair the damage of this administration's cruelty.

We cannot lose sight of what these terrified and traumatized children are experiencing on American soil. We owe it to them to bear witness, to demand accountability, and to fight.

Joe

Posted on October 22, 2018.

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MEET JOE

Joe Kennedy III represents Massachusetts' 4th District in Congress. A principled and passionate advocate for economic, social, and racial justice, Joe is working to improve access to quality, affordable health care, and is determined to fight for all who call this country home.

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