S.1733: Protecting Families and Improving Immigration Procedures Act
S. 1733 would prohibit immigration agents from separating children from their parent or guardian within 100 miles of the border unless one of the following conditions have been met:
• A state court has terminated parental rights or made a finding that it is in the best interests of the child to be removed from the parent based in accordance with the Adoption and Safe Families Act of 1997;
• A state child welfare agency official with expertise in child trauma and development makes a determination that removal, or separation, is in the best interests of the child based on the danger of abuse or neglect, or the child is a danger to themselves or others; or
• The Chief Patrol Agent of Area Port Director makes an official finding that the child is a victim of, or at significant risk of becoming a victim of, human trafficking.
No agency would be permitted to remove a child from a parent or legal guardian solely for the policy goal of deterring individuals from migrating to the United States.
The bill would require federal agencies to develop training and guidance for agents and officers that emphasize childhood trauma and development to establish standards for circumstances in which family separation would be permissible.
The bill would give unaccompanied children the right to access government-appointed counsel at the government’s expense in any removal proceeding.View Full Overview
- This is a stronger mandate than similarly introduced legislation in the last Congress.
- Nonetheless, additional language could be added to the bill to prevent “pretextual” or dual-motivated rationale for separating families.