Social Workers in Congress Lee, Shea-Porter, Davis, Gutiérrez, and Bass Joint Statement on Child Separations at the Border

Washington, D.C. – Barbara Lee (CA-13), Chair of the Congressional Social Work Caucus, Congresswomen Carol Shea-Porter (NH-01), Congresswoman Susan Davis (CA-53), Congressman Luis V. Gutiérrez (IL-04), and Congresswoman Karen Bass (CA-37) released the following statement on the Trump Administration’s “zero tolerance” policy, which is currently separating children from their parents at the border:

“The Trump Administration’s policy of separating children from their parents is terrifying and frankly, abhorrent. Reports indicate that very young children– who are already fleeing dangerous conditions at home including domestic violence – are being taken from their parents. Families are often separated by hundreds of miles, and children are being housed in inadequate facilities. As social workers, we understand the profound impact that family separation has on a child’s developmental growth and on our society. These heartless policies instill a sense of helplessness and despair in children and could result in long-term trauma and health repercussions.

“The American Academy of Pediatrics has stated that the separation of children from parents, and detention in DHS facilities that do not meet the basic standard of care for children, pose a significant threat to their long-term health and well-being. Their findings have led them to recommend that children in the custody of their parents should never be detained or separated from a parent unless a competent family court makes that determination.

“Every passing day of separation has grave consequences for these children’s well-being. These are innocent children who have done nothing wrong. Forcing them to suffer at the hands of the US government is inhumane and un-American. We are taking all actions possible to end this brutal policy and reunite children with their families.”


Between May 6 and May 19, 658 children were separated from their parents. No law currently requires the separation of families. Under the Trump Administration’s “zero tolerance” policy, adults are separated from their children and prosecuted while their children are detained before being placed into shelters, the custody of a sponsor, or a foster home.