Merkley statement on reunification deadline

WASHINGTON, D.C. – Oregon’s Senator Jeff Merkley released the following statement regarding the court-ordered family reunification deadline today:

“The Trump administration’s decision to separate children from their families was a dark and evil deed. Now, cruelty is being compounded by incompetence. This will go down as a shameful chapter in American history, and I will keep pushing to reunite each and every family as quickly as possible so that we can close this horrific chapter. The administration seems incapable or unwilling to fix this, so Congress should immediately pass the REUNITE Act.”

On June 3, Merkley set off a national firestorm when he went to the border to personally investigate the child separation policy and was turned away from a children’s detention center in Brownsville, TX. Merkley successfully pressured the Trump administration to back down from this cruel policy, but since the administration never had a coherent plan to bring families back together once they had been separated, the administration has struggled to reunite children with their parents. Currently, fewer than half of the over 2,600 children have been reunited, and reports indicate that hundreds of parents have already been deported without their children. Merkley has joined Sen. Kamala Harris (D-CA) to introduce the REUNITE Act, legislation that would expedite the reunification process.