June 20, 2018

Grassley Joins Senators in Crafting Bill to Keep Families Together, Ensure Integrity of Immigration Laws

WASHINGTON – Senator Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa), chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee, today joined several of his colleagues in introducing the Keep Families Together and Enforce the Law Act. The legislation requires that children and their parents remain together during their legal proceedings, and incorporates many of Grassley’s suggested legislative fixes to resolve this crisis.
"This is a simple, straight-forward solution to a problem we all agree needs fixing,” Grassley said. “It reflects the American people’s humanity and respects the rule of law by permanently ensuring that families can stay together in family residential centers while their cases are pending. This is exactly our purview as members of the legislative branch: make laws to address pressing issues. There is an urgent need to end the crisis, so I look forward to the bill’s rapid consideration."
Grassley is an early advocate of keeping children and families together following recent reports of families being separated pending their immigration or asylum proceedings. In remarks at a recent Judiciary Committee hearing and in a letter to his Democratic committee colleagues, Grassley reiterated the need for swift and permanent action by Congress to address the matter. Furthermore, Grassley introduced in February of this year the Secure and Succeed Act, which would have would have prevented family separations.
Background on the Keep Families Together and Enforce the Law Act:
·         Requires the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) to keep immigrant families together at residential centers pending the outcome of their immigration proceedings.
·         Sets mandatory standards of care for family residential centers.
·         Authorizes over 200 new immigration judges and requires the DHS Secretary and Attorney General to expedite the court proceedings of children and families.
·         Keeps children safe by requiring a child be removed from the care of an individual in the following cases:
o   The individual presents a clear danger to the health and safety of the child;
o   DHS cannot verify that the individual is actually the parent of the child;
o   The parent of the child has a violent history of committing aggravated felonies;
o   The child has been a victim of sexual or domestic abuse; or
o   The child has been a victim of trafficking.
The bill was led by Senator Thom Tillis (R-N.C.). Grassley, alongside Judiciary Subcommittee on Border Security and Immigration Chairman John Cornyn (R-Texas), authored significant portions of the legislation.
Other original cosponsors of the legislation include Marco Rubio (R-Fla.), Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.), Ron Johnson (R-Wis.), Tom Cotton (R-Ark.), Ted Cruz (R-Texas), Dean Heller (R-Nev.), James Lankford (R-Okla.), Deb Fischer (R-Neb.), Joni Ernst (R-Iowa), Jerry Moran (R-Kan.), Ben Sasse (R-Neb.), Pat Roberts (R-Kan.), Steve Daines (R-Mont.), Johnny Isakson (R-Ga.), Jeff Flake (R-Ariz.), Orrin Hatch (R-Utah), Jim Inhofe (R-Okla.), John Thune (R-S.D.), Bob Corker (R-Tenn.), Mike Crapo (R-Idaho), John Hoeven (R-N.D.), John Boozman (R-Ark.), Rob Portman (R-Ohio) and Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.).