Last Tuesday, in testimony before the Senate Judiciary Committee, Department of Homeland Security Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen flatly refused to rule out a policy of parent-child separation in order to deter migration to the United States.

CWLA joined more than 130 organizations asking Secretary Nielsen to abandon any plans to separate children from their parents when they seek protection at the U.S. border.

In the letter to Homeland Security Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen the groups states:

“HHS would bear the responsibility of caring for the traumatized children and finding suitable, alternative caregivers. These children could remain in government care for months or more than a year, during which time the continued separation from their parents would compound their trauma and the time it would take them to recover and return to a trajectory of good health and normal development. Nor would it make any sense to require those children to participate in a formal legal proceeding about their immigration case while separated from the parent who brought them here, who may have critical information—or the only information—about the child’s claim for protection.”

The letter is now being re-circulating for additional signatures until Monday January 22, at 5:00 PM EST. The letter will be submitted as part of the record of Secretary Nielsen’s testimony before the Senate Judiciary Committee. In December, the Washington Post reported that the Trump Administration is considering a policy to separate children from their families as a deterrent to new increases in the number of children crossing the border to avoid serious harm in their Central American countries.