MARKING THE ONE-YEAR ANNIVERSARY OF THE FAMILY SEPARATION CRISIS; Congressional Record Vol. 165, No. 77
(House of Representatives - May 09, 2019)

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[Pages H3663-H3667]
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    MARKING THE ONE-YEAR ANNIVERSARY OF THE FAMILY SEPARATION CRISIS

  The SPEAKER pro tempore. Under the Speaker's announced policy of 
January 3, 2019, the gentlewoman from Washington (Ms. Jayapal) is 
recognized for the remainder of the hour as the designee of the 
majority leader.
  Ms. JAYAPAL. Madam Speaker, I thank Representative Schakowsky for her 
incredible leadership in the Congressional Progressive Caucus on so 
many issues, including bringing truth to the Mueller investigation and 
making sure people understand exactly what is going on.
  Madam Speaker, for the rest of the Special Order hour, which is the 
Congressional Progressive Caucus' Special Order hour that we do each 
week, we are focusing on the 1-year anniversary of the family 
separation crisis. Any of our Members here who would like to speak are 
welcome to do so.
  Let me start by saying, 1 year ago, I became the first Member of 
Congress to go into a Federal prison where hundreds of men and women, 
mothers and fathers, had been separated from their children and were 
being held in the prison system, in the Federal prison just south of my 
district.
  I cannot, even today, 365 days later, forget the stories that these 
mothers and fathers told me. They told me about how immigration agents 
said to them, ``Your families don't exist anymore,'' and that they 
would never see their children again.
  At the time that I saw them, it was already 3 to 4 weeks after they 
had been separated, and the majority of those parents had no idea where 
their children were.
  In fact, that morning, some of them had been handed slips that 
supposedly

[[Page H3664]]

had the names of their children written on those slips of paper. One 
woman came over to me crying and she said: These are not my children.
  That slip that supposedly had the names of her children did not match 
her actual children.
  Can you imagine? I just think, as a mother, and for all the mothers 
and fathers out there, as a parent, can you imagine being separated 
from your child, in some cases children as young as 6 months, later we 
found out 3 months old, babies, who were torn off the breasts of their 
mothers?
  These moms described immigration agents tearing them from their 
children without the opportunity to say good-bye. Some of them told me 
that when they went to go to the bathroom, they were told their 
children would still be there. When they came back, their children were 
gone. But they could hear them in the very next room crying for them, 
screaming for their parents, and these mothers were not able to go.
  They told me how immigration agents put them in line with their 
children, and they would send the parents in one direction and the 
children in another direction.
  One of the mothers told me how she left Guatemala with her 8- and 12-
year-old children. Her husband is in prison. He was put in prison for 
raping a young child around the same age as her daughter. He was just 
about to come out of prison, and she was afraid that he would come out 
of prison and then go after their child, rape her daughter.
  Another woman from El Salvador told me how she got a protection order 
against her ex-husband, who is a police officer, but the protection 
order was meaningless. He continued to antagonize her family, so she 
left.
  Many of these mothers told me how they had left one or two of their 
children behind because they wanted to try to save one. It was too 
difficult to bring small children on the long journey that they were 
taking--the incredible sacrifice as a parent of trying to save one 
child.
  One mother told me that she had three children. The first was shot 
and killed by gang members. The second was shot and paralyzed by gang 
members. She left the paralyzed child at home because she knew that he 
would not be able to make the journey. She took the final child. She 
tried to bring that child to safety.

                              {time}  2000

  After everything these mothers experienced--the trauma in their home 
countries, the cruel separation from their children--the treatment that 
they experienced in immigration custody was just outrageous.
  Immigration agents told them that they were ``filthy.'' They used 
that word. Immigration agents laughed at these mothers when they cried 
about losing their children. And these mothers told me how they were 
detained in cells that were so cold that they called them ``the ice 
box'' because it was so cold.
  Many of these mothers described being put there after crossing the 
Rio Grande River; and they were still wet, and they were put into these 
freezer boxes, these ice boxes, without blankets, without sleeping 
mats. Some mothers described how they went without water for 5 days.
  After public outcry and pressure from elected officials, the 
government set up a number for parents to call to get information on 
their children, but some of the parents that I spoke to in Texas said 
that the number didn't work or that ICE wouldn't allow them to speak to 
their children.
  One mother mentioned that she repeatedly tried to call her child to 
try to locate her child, but the number would not go through.
  One mother told me that, when she requested to talk to her child, the 
ICE agents would get mad; and agents mentioned that, in some instances, 
families would have to pay for these phone calls.
  And this isn't just anecdotal. The DHS inspector general's September 
2018 report found mixed results among parents attempting to call their 
children and that important information about how to contact separated 
children was not always available.
  Just this week, 2 days ago, Members of Congress had hoped to do the 
Special Order hour on the day of the anniversary. We had to do it today 
because this is our scheduled time. But the group Families Belong 
Together, a coalition of groups working on this issue, did an 
installation on our Capitol lawn with the shoes of tiny children all 
throughout and then an incredible 3-D statue of a mother reaching out 
to her child, and the child was in a cage.
  I cannot imagine that this is the country that we call the greatest 
country in the world. I cannot imagine that my country that I am proud 
of, that I serve here as a Member of Congress for would do this to 
children.
  And this administration has consistently demonized and vilified 
immigrants, but this policy of cruel family separation is hard to even 
describe, hard to imagine that it is happening in our borders.
  I was privileged to co-chair, with Congresswoman Lucille Roybal-
Allard, the Women's Working Group on Immigration Reform, and we led a 
trip to the border. I see my good friend Representative Jan Schakowsky, 
who was on that trip, and I just want to ask the gentlewoman, 
Representative Schakowsky, who has been so eloquent on this issue, I 
want to see if she wants to say a few words.
  And then I know my friend Barbara Lee is here, as well, about this 
crisis and about our commitment, as Democrats, to refuse to allow this 
to continue.
  Madam Speaker, I yield to the gentlewoman from Illinois (Ms. 
Schakowsky).
  Ms. SCHAKOWSKY. I thank the gentlewoman for yielding.
  We have talked about how shocking it is for our country, the United 
States of America, which is, despite any effort to change, a country of 
immigrants. I know the gentlewoman, herself, is an immigrant to the 
United States of America.
  My parents, neither were born in the United States of America. But 
this is a place where my family was able to find refuge from the 
pogroms in Eastern Europe and make a good life here. And yet, today, we 
are seeing such horror that, if it were another country, I think we 
would want sanctions. We would go to the United Nations. How could a 
country separate families?
  And it is not just at the border, as Members know. Inside our 
country, in my city of Chicago, we are finding families that are scared 
all the time, mixed families where the children might be citizens and 
the parents undocumented. The kids are afraid to go to school, 
wondering if their parents will be there when they get home.
  But that trip to the border that the Congresswoman helped organize is 
something that I will never, ever forget. Seeing people in cages, 
seeing that grandmother--remember?--who was inconsolable because she 
came with her 7-year-old granddaughter who was taken from her because 
our country did not recognize a grandmother as family. That child was 
redesignated as an unaccompanied minor, and she thought she may never 
see her granddaughter again, and maybe that is true.
  There are thousands, we think, of children and families that are 
separated. We don't know. Nobody knows. The Department of Homeland 
Security doesn't know how many children have been separated from their 
parents.
  We saw some moms who were being reunited with their children, and one 
of them was furious, and I was curious as to why. This mother said her 
8-year-old daughter was told, ``Your mother abandoned you.'' Someone 
representing our country said that to a child.
  Who does that?
  ``Your mother abandoned you, and you will be in a shelter until you 
are 18 years old.'' That reunion, mother and daughter, did not go 
smoothly at first, as you can imagine.
  I mean, we saw a whole room full of people pleading guilty to 
crossing the border because it wasn't at a designated border crossing. 
It was so painful to see that. And that was the beginning of the zero-
tolerance policy. And we are still seeing families separated, families 
suffering 1 year later.
  And, Madam Speaker, I thank the gentlewoman for calling attention to 
this and for organizing that visit to the border, which is forever in 
my mind.
  Ms. JAYAPAL. Madam Speaker, I thank Representative Schakowsky for her 
comments.
  My colleague, the gentlewoman from California, Barbara Lee, has been 
such a champion for families, for children,

[[Page H3665]]

for people of color, for low-income families across this country and 
knows the history of this country. This is not the first time that we 
have separated children from their parents.

  Madam Speaker, I yield to the gentlewoman from California (Ms. Lee) 
to say a few words on this, as well.
  Ms. LEE of California. Madam Speaker, I thank Representative Jayapal 
for yielding, and I thank her for her tremendous leadership and for 
staying steady and focused. And, also, I just have to recognize her for 
the input which she has provided to the conference committee to keep 
the government open, but, also, it was a conference committee to fund 
Homeland Security. Her input and what she gave us really was extremely 
important to get that done. We have a lot of work to do. So I thank her 
very much for that, also.
  Yes, our Nation has yet to recover from the Trump administration's 
cruel zero-tolerance, zero-humanity prosecution policy that tore and is 
tearing thousands of children from their parents and guardians, which 
was announced 1 year ago this week.
  Since Donald Trump started his zero-humanity policy--and that is 
exactly what it is--we have learned more and more disturbing evidence.
  We know that the Trump administration piloted family separation on a 
limited basis and planned to impose a policy of mass separating of 
children from their moms and dads--a policy. We have seen the 
administration's memos contemplating how this could be done and the 
resources needed to separate and detain thousands of children and 
parents.
  The Government Accountability Office has investigated, finding that, 
despite the administration's contemplation, this is a very serious, 
serious problem, that they were unaware the then-Attorney General, Jeff 
Sessions, intended to launch this zero-humanity policy. They didn't 
even know this, they said.
  At least as of February this year, we know that the Justice 
Department and their attorneys are still not tracking when they 
prosecute parents and legal guardians separated from their children.
  And that brings me to what may be the most disturbing part of it all: 
The Department of Health and Human Services' inspector general found 
that the total number of children separated from a parent or guardian 
by immigration authorities is unknown and that thousands of children 
may have been separated.
  So the bottom line is that Donald Trump and his administration, 
showing horrific cruelty and disregard for the well-being of children, 
planned for months--this was a plan--to tear children from their 
parents' arms.
  Key officials were warned about the potentially lifelong harm to 
children, and Donald Trump and his administration still did absolutely 
nothing to ensure children could be reunited with their parents.
  Yes, Congresswoman Jayapal, this is not a stain, but this is yet 
another stain on the United States.
  I am reminded that 400 years ago, when the first Africans were 
brought to this country to begin the horrific, inhumane institution and 
government-sanctioned slavery, children were separated from their 
parents. And that was a plan, just as it is a plan now. African 
families were split and destroyed.
  We still experience, in the Black community, generational trauma from 
these crimes against humanity. I couldn't help but be reminded of what 
my ancestors experienced as I visited McAllen, Texas, and Brownsville, 
Texas, last year.
  I saw children sleeping on concrete floors, behind barbed wire, 
crying for their parents. I spoke with mothers and fathers who did not 
know where their children were after several months. And we were told 
that they could make these phone calls, but also that these calls cost 
money.
  Where do they have money? How could they get any money?
  These children and their parents had no access to mental health 
professionals.
  Now, my background is psychiatric social work, and I know the trauma 
of separation of children from their parents, just within 24 hours that 
trauma settles in.
  They had no access to legal services. And, yes, I couldn't believe it 
when I saw that these detention centers were prisons. They reminded me 
of San Quentin.
  I saw mothers in prison uniforms. These were asylum seekers. They 
were put behind barbed wire in prison uniforms. This was like something 
I had never seen in my life.
  And yet it took me back to what our government sanctioned and 
promoted and had as its policy 400 years ago.
  Yes, I was born in a border city, El Paso, Texas. I was just there 
with Congresswoman Escobar on Monday. And El Paso, the people of El 
Paso are doing everything they can to help with the children and with 
the families that are being so ruthlessly treated by our immigration 
officials.

  Now, I just have to tell you, these children will grow up with a 
disdain for America; okay? Their trauma will turn into anger. And I 
know that, professionally. I know what is going to happen to these 
kids.
  The long-term impact will not be good for our country, so this 
administration better figure this out pretty quickly. There are so many 
dimensions to what they are doing. I don't think they even get it.
  The humane and the humanitarian crisis that we are experiencing is 
first and foremost, but we also have to remind the Trump administration 
they are creating children now who will be adults soon, and this trauma 
is going to stay with them all of their lives. So we better get it 
right, and get it right quickly.
  Madam Speaker, I thank the gentlewoman from Washington (Ms. Jayapal) 
for her leadership. We have done much work in the Appropriations 
Committee.
  Thank God we were able to pass some of the amendments last year that 
would not allow the immigration officials to chain pregnant women--get 
it?--chain pregnant women. We got rid of that. Hopefully, they are 
implementing that properly.
  So there is a lot to do, but this is something that cannot last. This 
is America, and we should not--the world should not see us leading an 
immigration policy or promoting an immigration policy that, central to 
it, destroys families and children and lives.
  These are human beings. They don't deserve this, and we have to do 
more to stop it.
  Madam Speaker, I again thank the gentlewoman for yielding.
  Ms. JAYAPAL. Madam Speaker, I thank Congresswoman Lee for her work, 
for her leadership. I was thinking about what she said about children 
and the impact on them, even within 24 hours.
  We had the then-Director of the Office of Refugee Resettlement, Scott 
Lloyd, who was in to testify before us in the Judiciary Committee.

                              {time}  2015

  We also had other career child welfare experts that were there on the 
panel, including one who testified to us on the committee that he 
warned the director and those above him about the increasing family 
separations and the incredibly significant, and potentially lifelong 
risks to those children; not only the ones that weren't reunited--
because at that point there was still, as there are today, over 300 
families today that still aren't reunited--but not only to the ones 
that weren't reunited, but he said even the ones who were reunited with 
their families, but they spent 3 months or even a week, or even 3 
weeks--most of them spent months separated from their parents--that 
lifelong--and he used that--lifelong damage to those children would be 
intense.
  I asked Scott Lloyd as the then-director of the Refugee Resettlement 
Program: Did you do anything? Did you take that information that you 
got, that this was going to be lifelong, irreversible--he used the word 
irreversible, the witness who testified about the damage to children--
did you do anything with that information about the lifelong, 
irreversible damage to thousands of children that you, this 
administration, has caused?
  And he said: No, didn't share it with anybody. Didn't do anything 
about it.
  On the same day that the Trump administration said that it would 
reunite thousands of children--because this is not a Democrat or a 
Republican issue--people across this country were outraged by what they 
saw.

[[Page H3666]]

  I remember First Lady Laura Bush wrote an amazing op-ed talking about 
this is not us, this is not America. Independents, Republicans, and 
Democrats knew that the Trump zero-humanity policy was wrong, it was 
cruel, and it was un-American.
  The same day that the Trump administration said: Okay, we hear the 
outrage. We will reunite thousands of children that it had separated 
through a central database, a government official admitted in an email 
that the Trump administration only had enough information at that point 
to reconnect 60 parents with their kids; 60 parents out of nearly 3,000 
children that we know of.
  Because later, we also found out that there were more children that 
we didn't know about in a ``pilot project'' that was even before the 
scrutiny came.
  Let me remind people that at the time that this was happening, DHS 
Secretary, then-DHS Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen and other Trump 
officials claimed repeatedly--not just once, not just twice--but 
repeatedly in testimony, in hearings, that they were keeping track of 
separations, and that claim had simply no basis in reality.
  The truth is that DHS has better systems in place to track the 
property that people who were in custody left, but not the children. 
Trump's Department of Homeland Security did not see fit to track 
children, including infants and toddlers.
  A Federal judge recently ordered the Trump administration to locate 
the children that were still remaining, potentially numbering in the 
thousands, over the next 6 months as opposed to the 2 years that the 
Trump administration requested. Just imagine, the Trump administration 
said give us 2 years to try to reunite these kids with their parents.
  But the truth is, Congresswoman Lee and everybody that is watching, 
we may never know the number of children who were separated by the 
Trump administration. There are children who may never ever be reunited 
with their parents.
  We are, of course, trying to get to the bottom of this. We are trying 
to get accountability on this, but we know that DHS is still separating 
families. We see the relentless efforts of this administration to cut 
people off from seeking asylum, which is, by the way, a lawful act, not 
only by our own domestic laws. We are signatory to human rights 
treaties, international treaties, which require us to allow people to 
seek asylum.
  Last week I reintroduced my Dignity for Detained Immigrants Act with 
my colleagues, Congressman Adam Smith, and Senator Booker introduced it 
in the Senate. Last cycle, this bill had over half of the Democratic 
Caucus. I think it was like 167 cosponsors. We intend to get more of 
our Democratic Caucus. My office spent 8 months working on this bill in 
the last Congress with stakeholders from across the country.
  I am proud to say that as we reintroduce it, we have also made sure--
and, frankly, it would have addressed the humanitarian crisis that we 
saw through family separation. Last year already made it extremely 
difficult to detain children and families. This year, what we did is, 
we added explicit language that bars Immigration and Customs 
Enforcement officials from detaining children under 18 years.
  We actually had the provision of not allowing for pregnant women to 
be shackled. Why do we need provisions saying pregnant women can't be 
shackled?
  What this bill is about is denying this administration and any 
administration in the future--Democratic or Republican--from using 
detention to facilitate the cruel separation of families.
  I am hoping--I know the gentlewoman is either on the bill or is going 
to be on the bill--but I am hoping that every single one of my 
colleagues joins me in transforming a cruel, abusive system; a 
detention system that takes these children and puts them--we should 
call them jails because that is what they are. They are not detention 
facilities. Most of the actual facilities, as the gentlewoman saw, are 
just like jails.
  And, in fact, they are using more and more jails. But that system is 
now detaining 52,000 people a day, which is why we need to make sure 
that we address this in appropriations. We need to make sure that we 
address this through legislation.
  So I am still astounded by the profound cruelty of this 
administration and this policy of family separation, of zero humanity 
that was imposed on children and families seeking asylum.
  Ms. LEE of California. Will the gentlewoman yield?
  Ms. JAYAPAL. Madam Speaker, I yield to the gentlewoman from 
California.

  Ms. LEE of California. Madam Speaker, Congresswoman Jayapal's bill is 
extremely important, and I hope that Republicans also join us in this 
effort because this is a concern that should be bipartisan or 
nonpartisan.
  But let me just mention a couple of things. Everyone who is a parent, 
a grandparent, or has ever babysat children, or who has been around 
children, if a child walks off, or you can't locate the child that you 
are caring for, I know you have felt the panic. I know when my children 
were small, and I would turn around and they were gone it was like: Oh, 
my God, what has happened? And the anxiety and the fear, and just 
getting very emotionally distraught behind not knowing where my 
children were, will always be with me.
  So I think everyone in our country should understand what these 
parents are going through and what a lost child is feeling if they have 
had that experience before.
  We had a hearing on this family separation policy in the 
Appropriations Committee, the Labor, Health and Human Services, 
Education, and Related Services Subcommittee, and we had a panel of 
individuals. Some were mental health professionals. And we were told in 
no uncertain terms that a day or two of counseling is not going to get 
it. These parents and these children need a specific form of 
psychotherapy, and it has got to be sustained. It has got to be 
professional, and it has got to be the type of therapy that addresses 
specifically trauma.
  So I am not sure that DHS even understands this. So it is on the 
record, and we have been trying now to make sure that we can provide 
the funding for the proper type of mental health services so that we 
can begin to deal with this trauma that has to be addressed early on. 
Because otherwise, this, again, is not going to be only these kids. 
This will be generational because there are DNA changes through the 
generations as a result of family separation and children being 
separated from their parents at an early age.
  Ms. JAYAPAL. Madam Speaker, I thank the gentlewoman for pointing that 
out. The head of the American Academy of Pediatrics has come. We have 
had a number of forums where people have been able to ask questions. 
Our Members have been able to ask questions, and I am very grateful to 
many of the Members who have taken it upon themselves to go and visit 
these detention facilities, go to the border with us and on other trips 
as well, and see exactly what is happening. Because I don't think you 
can really imagine it unless you see it.
  I don't think you can imagine what it is like to go into a giant 
facility where children are being held, 6, 7, 8 years old, being held 
in cages with no place to sleep.
  Ms. LEE of California. Peeping out at you, begging for help.
  Ms. JAYAPAL. Yes, begging for help. And I think about the children, 
the parents that I talked to, and some of the reunifications that we 
saw when I led that trip to the border and thinking about these parents 
who had to experience their children not wanting to come to them.
  Representative Schakowsky talked about one mom that we met who was 
reunited with her 8-year-old daughter. The daughter had been told that 
the mother had abandoned her, and for months, she thought the mother 
had abandoned her and that she was going to go into a shelter, or a 
foster home because her mother had abandoned her.
  So you can imagine when the mother came to be reunited with the 
child, the mother was so happy that she finally was getting to see her 
child, and the child did not want to go to her mother. She didn't want 
to go to her mother. It took some time for them to actually be reunited 
and for the mother to say: No, I did not abandon you. But if you are

[[Page H3667]]

an 8-year-old child, how do you understand that?
  Ms. LEE of California. It is hard to process that.
  Ms. JAYAPAL. How do you process it? And I think that in the end, I 
continue to think about the ways in which we are criminalizing 
migrants, criminalizing people who are fleeing violence, tremendous 
violence in their countries.
  Just the other day there was an article in The New York Times, I 
think, that talked about in Honduras, which is where many of the 
parents that I met with that were in that Federal prison separated from 
their children, many of them were from Honduras. This article described 
how you have two choices: You either get killed by the gangs or you 
leave. That is the only choice you have.
  I also went to Tijuana. I think I was the first Member to go to 
Tijuana, and I met with a 15-year-old boy who had been shot in both 
knees. And he had a phone message on his cell phone from his mother who 
said: Please do not come back here. Just go. Just go. Get to the United 
States. Get to a place of safety. Seek asylum. I will be devastated to 
have you leave me, but I just want you to stay alive.
  What parent doesn't want their child to stay alive? And this young 
man who talked to me was a strong young man, but he started weeping, 
talking about how he had to leave his mother and come to the United 
States as an unaccompanied child. It was devastating to hear, 
absolutely devastating to hear.
  As we celebrate this 1-year anniversary--not celebrate, memorialize, 
I should say--this 1-year anniversary of this cruel, zero-humanity 
policy of family separation, I urge all of my colleagues to sign on to 
my Dignity for Detained Immigrants bill, to work in appropriations in 
every committee that we have, to remember that we still have children 
who are separated from their parents, still to this day.
  We still have families that are being separated from their parents as 
we speak. We still do not know how many thousands more children were 
separated from their parents as a result of this administration's cruel 
policies that undermine who we are.
  I see I have been joined by an incredible colleague, a leader on the 
Judiciary Committee, a leader in the Progressive Caucus, and also 
somebody who was on our trip to Texas, to the border, but also is from 
Texas.
  I yield to the gentlewoman from Texas (Ms. Jackson Lee), my 
colleague, for her comments on this.
  Ms. JACKSON LEE. Madam Speaker, I thank the gentlewoman for yielding.
  I want to join both Congresswoman Jayapal and Congresswoman Lee on 
just reinforcing the devastation and the dastardliness of child 
separation from their parents. I would just like to very briefly say 
that this sad commemoration should equate to a commitment of zero 
tolerance for separating children from their families.
  We should end the migrant policy that includes child separation, the 
position of remaining in Mexico as you seek asylum, the losing of your 
space, or your bed, if you are in a shelter and have to be sent back to 
Mexico when you actually apply for asylum. All of these migrant 
policies, which included child separation, clearly can devastate the 
families.
  So I want to emphasize just one point that included my many trips to 
the border, including the time we had the opportunity to travel 
together, and I want to focus on the psychological and maybe 
irreparable damage that is being done particularly to children in the 
understandable period. That is not a technical term. I am not a 
sociologist or a psychologist, but in that period where the child may 
be somewhere between 4 and 15, or 4 and 12. Those are really years 
when, whether it is a boy or girl, they are bonding with mom. People 
must realize that those children traveled thousands of miles or 1,000-
plus miles with that parent and mostly that mother, and it has been a 
dad.

                              {time}  2030

  So that mother made a sacrifice, either out of lack of understanding 
of the language or signing a paper that she did not understand or 
thinking that she needed to separate because of the housing situation, 
and many of us saw the housing situation and the metallic blankets and 
the lack of space.
  Let me just say this for the personnel on the border. We found some 
very empathetic personnel on the border, men and women who do their 
job. But the resources of the facilities are absolutely inadequate and 
disgraceful, and they have been like that on the border of Texas for a 
very long time.
  So I am grateful for Congresswoman Lee and Congresswoman Lucille 
Roybal-Allard, those who realize we have to really overhaul those 
facilities, that will include healthcare facilities and otherwise.
  But in that reunion, you might say--and there were good staff people 
who thought they were doing the right thing, and they were excited with 
the expectation. They had brought the children.
  I remember two little boys. First of all, there wasn't a dry eye in 
the room of those of us who had come. It was just unspeakable. It was 
overwhelming. It brought back memories. You thought about your children 
or your extended family members.
  So two little boys, crisp little white shirts on over at a table 
playing with the best red fire truck and truck that they could find. In 
walk mothers who went to different corners. But in walks this mother 
with her belongings, as I recollect, like in a pillowcase, not even a 
suitcase. Obviously, you have traveled 1,000 miles plus, and then you 
have been detained somewhere and your child went off some other place.
  She comes with those welled-up eyes of expectation. She stood by that 
table for the longest period of time.
  We all know there is no way you don't know someone is standing behind 
you or there is no way you don't recognize your mom even in the sight 
of your eye who was walking in. We know how mom and children are, mom 
and dad. They break that big grin, and they run like they have never 
run before to get into the arms of that mom and dad.
  This mom stood there with her pillowcase belongings for the longest 
period of time, and those little boys continued to play and ignore and 
play and ignore and play and ignore. I almost wanted to reach out and 
turn that little face back here.
  There was no way they did not know mom was standing there, but the 
detachment was so devastating. When that mom put her arms around 
precious little boy, he was so stiff that I knew this was going to take 
a very long time.
  What I was fearful of was, where they would be destined, there would 
be no resources for his treatment, for his ability to understand what 
happened.
  How callous this policy is, to date, that there are still some 
separated children; and with the leadership we have now, we don't know 
whether they will do it again.
  So I thank the gentlewoman for doing this because, even now, my eyes 
well up because children are children, and we will never repair the 
damage, but we must stop this policy. It must be zero tolerance. We 
must not have this policy ever again. It is truly inhumane, and it is 
not representative of the values of this Nation, in spite of some of 
the history we have had as a country.
  This is a nation where people believe in that sense of dignity and 
equality. Our values say that. We need to act on that and, certainly, 
humanity, which is so very important.
  Ms. JAYAPAL. Madam Speaker, I thank the gentlewoman from Texas for 
her leadership, for her words, and for her work on this issue.
  I would just say that, as we get ready to close, here, this Special 
Order hour, we are thinking, keeping in our minds and in our hearts the 
thousands of families across this country and across the world that 
have been separated from their children, and we will do everything we 
can to continue to fight for justice.
  Madam Speaker, I yield back the balance of my time.
  The SPEAKER pro tempore. Members are reminded to refrain from 
engaging in personalities toward the President.

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