December 21, 2018

Torres Introduces Bill to Increase Transparency and Ensure Safety of Children in CBP and ICE Custody

The bill follows the recent deaths of 7-year-old Jakelin Caal, who died while in U.S. Customs and Border Protection custody, and toddler Mariee Juarez, who died shortly after being released from U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement custody

WASHINGTON, DC — Today, U.S. Representative Norma J. Torres (D-CA) introduced the Border Security and Child Safety Act to require the U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS) to conduct a review of all policies and procedures impacting the safety and health of children in U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) and U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) custody. The bill would also require the DHS Secretary to develop a strategy to implement policies that will ensure the safety of children in CBP and ICE custody, and to prioritize the hiring of medical personnel to provide prompt and adequate medical care to all children in DHS custody.

"Jakelin Caal's tragedy was not an isolated incident. From family separations, to the deaths of immigrant children in their care, to the turning away of asylum seekers at our border, there is a pattern of abuse and cruelty against immigrant families by this administration," said Torres. "My bill would help break this pattern, and ensure that the proper policies and procedures are in place to safeguard the health and well-being of children in CBP and ICE custody."

The legislation is cosponsored by Representatives Jim McGovern (D-MA) and Juan Vargas (D-CA).

Earlier this week, Torres and members of the Congressional Hispanic Caucus traveled to New Mexico to investigate the circumstances surrounding the death of Jakelin Caal. Additionally, Torres and Representative Ted W. Lieu (D-CA) led a group of fifty-four members of Congress in a letter urging DHS to end the administration's policy of deterring migrants from applying for asylum at U.S. ports of entry.

The text of the bill may be viewed HERE.