WASHINGTON, D.C. – U.S. Sen. Ted Cruz, R-Texas, introduced emergency legislation in response to the discovery of hundreds of children waiting in a series of cages created by metal fencing in South Texas on Tuesday.
Nearly 2,000 children were taken from their parents over a six-week period in April and May after Attorney General Jeff Sessions announced a "zero tolerance" policy.
Cruz introduced S. 3091, the Protect Kids and Parents Act, joined by 18 original cosponsors: Sens. John Barrasso, R-Wyo.; Roy Blunt R-Mo.; Mike Crapo, R-Idaho; Steve Daines, R-Mont.; Joni Ernst, R-Iowa; Orrin Hatch, R-Utah; John Hoeven, R-N.D.; Mike Lee, R-Utah; James Inhofe, R-Okla.; James Risch, R-Idaho; Pat Roberts, R-Kan.; Mike Rounds, R-S.D.; Marco Rubio, R-Fla.; Ben Sasse, R-Neb.; Tim Scott, R-S.C.; Pat Toomey, R-Pa.; Roger Wicker, R-Miss.; and Todd Young, R-Ind.
“Over the past few weeks, Americans have been rightly horrified by the images and videos coming from our southern border, where tearful children are being pulled away from their mothers and fathers,” Cruz said. “There is no doubt that this must stop, immediately. We can come together to fix this problem. The Protect Kids and Parents Act focuses on solving the current problem: it stops family separation, except in situations where it is necessary to protect the health and well-being of the child, and doubles the number of immigration judges and expedites the process by which we handle asylum claims by families who enter our country. I hope that my Democratic colleagues can join with us to stop the crisis that is occurring at the border.”
Read the text of the bill here.
The Protect Kids and Parents Act, according to Cruz’s office, will:
- Double the number of federal immigration judges, from roughly 375 to 750.
- Authorize new temporary shelters, with accommodations to keep families together.
- Mandate that illegal immigrant families must be kept together, absent aggravated criminal conduct or threat of harm to the children.
- Provide for expedited processing and review of asylum cases, so that — within 14 days — those who meet the legal standards will be granted asylum, and those who do not will be immediately returned to their home countries.
Cruz is one in a sea of politicians, activists, celebrities, etc. voicing criticism of the Trump administration's policy of family separation at the border.