MURPHY INTRODUCES IMMIGRATION AMENDMENT TO PROTECT IMMIGRANT CHILDREN FROM ABUSE IN DETENTION FACILITIES

Video of Murphy’s Senate floor speech on this topic can be found here

WASHINGTON –Today, U.S. Senator Chris Murphy (D-Conn.) spoke on the U.S. Senate floor about an amendment he introduced (S.AMDT.1451) to the immigration bill currently being debated in the Senate. Murphy’s amendment would prohibit immigrant children from being detained in adult detention facilities, where they face a higher risk of physical and sexual abuse. Recently, it has been reported that scores of immigrant children have been placed in adult detention facilities over the last five years – some for as long as three months at a time – even though current law prohibits most children from being detained in adult facilities. For example, there have been cases of immigrant teenagers who are picked up by law enforcement on their own, without any family members, because they appear to be over 18 years old. In these adult detention centers, immigrant children risk being subjected to physical and sexual abuse at much higher rates, as well as threats to mental health from being placed in solitary confinement.

“While we need to treat all immigrants who come here without documentation fairly, we must give certain protections to immigrant children,” said Murphy. “It's unfair to treat them as adults because the fact is, they aren't. If it's appropriate to detain a minor who has been picked up without family members, he or she needs to be detained separately from adults. There's a significantly higher risk of abuse for children in detention facilities and we can't allow them to remain in these facilities vulnerable to truly nightmarish abuse scenarios. My amendment will help ensure that children in DHS custody are protected from abuse and trauma, and I hope my colleagues will work with me to include it in the larger immigration bill.”

Murphy’s amendment would:

·        Prohibit detaining children in adult detention facilities.  This would not bar the Department of Homeland Security from keeping children together with family members in family units and facilities

·         Ensure that existing statutory protections are not affected

·         Require a report and general record keeping on where and how immigrant children are housed, and whether or not they are represented by counsel

·         Ensure the best interests of the child should be the main consideration in transferring or releasing them

A video of Murphy’s Senate floor speech on this amendment can be found here: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=P1mdrXxD_Aw&feature=youtu.be

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