Rep. Adriano Espaillat Leads Democratic Members to Introduce Immigration Package in Response to Trump State of the Union Address
WASHINGTON, DC — Today, Representative Adriano Espaillat (NY-13), joined by Reps. José E. Serrano (NY-15), Suzanne Bonamici (OR-01), Donald S. Beyer Jr. (VA-08), Pramila Jayapal (WA-07), and Jesús “Chuy” García (IL-04) introduced a critical legislative package to protect immigrant rights.
“President Trump has made the targeting of immigrants a central part of his administration’s policies while persistently lobbing bigoted, verbal attacks at immigrant communities,” said Rep. Adriano Espaillat (NY-13). “What we witnessed during the State of the Union address was more of the same – criminalizing immigrants, promoting inhumane policies that separate children from their families and raid sensitive locations such as public schools and courthouses. My colleagues and I are introducing this series of bills, a legislative package that will protect immigrants, immigrant families, and hold the Trump administration accountable.”
“Individuals in this country should be able to access places essential to their health, education, and welfare – like hospitals, churches and schools – without fear of deportation or separation from their families. We’ve seen an alarming number of deportation cases that originated at these locations in recent years. The Protecting Sensitive Locations Act will ensure immigrant families remain able to access crucial health care, the place they worship, and schools without fear of sudden and unwarranted deportation,” said Rep. José E. Serrano.
“The Trump administration’s continued assault on immigrants is inhumane and un-American,” said Rep. Suzanne Bonamici. “As a mother, it breaks my heart to think of the thousands of children who have been torn away from their parents. With these bills, we can immediately reunite those families and prevent further harm to them and others. We will be able to preserve video records of any incident involving immigration agents. And we can stop ICE from targeting immigrants at courthouses, which is deterring vulnerable people from reporting crimes and seeking protective orders, civil justice, or police assistance. This important package of legislation will provide much-needed transparency, oversight, and accountability for the anti-immigrant forces in this administration.”
“Since Donald Trump took office I have witnessed the ‘American carnage’ of his attacks on immigrant families first hand,” said Rep. Beyer. “I heard from tearful fathers who told me harrowing stories about having their children torn away from them. I met with young children in my district whose mother was deported for driving with a broken tail light. I stood with community leaders who were outraged by ICE shakedowns at a hypothermia shelter in a place of worship, a violation of standing policy. Americans overwhelmingly want humane immigration policies, and this legislation would help bring checks to Trump’s out-of-control nativist policies,” said Donald S. Beyer Jr. (VA-08).
“This administration took infants, toddlers and children from their mothers and fathers with no plan to reunite them. I’ve met with separated parents detained in federal prison and visited the border and spoken directly with parents and children torn apart by this administration’s zero tolerance, zero humanity family separation policy. It was heartbreaking: I will never forget the cries of the mothers, calling for their children to be brought back to them. The REUNITE Act ensures the immediate reunification of the thousands of children still separated from their families. This isn’t politics, this is about what’s right and wrong. Families belong together, plain and simple,” said Rep. Pramila Jayapal (WA-07).
“Immigrant families, including those in my district, deserve to live and walk in their neighborhoods without the fear of being detained and deported at school, places of worship or the doctor’s office. We will require that families separated at the border be reunified immediately, receive legal counsel and will require that parents are constantly updated about their children until they are reunited. Finally, we can keep ICE and CBP agents accountable by requiring them to wear body cameras to protect the civil and human rights of the immigrants they arrest and detain. The three legislative proposals we are introducing today will address very important problems created by Trump’s inhumane polices,” said Rep. Jesús “Chuy” García.
The bills, which were first introduced in 2017 and 2018, seek to prevent a number of the Trump Administration’s most egregious immigration enforcement tactics and protect the rights of immigrants in the United States.
One of the bills, the Protecting Sensitive Locations Act, will prohibit immigration enforcement in certain “sensitive locations” such as courthouses, schools, community centers and houses of worship, a tactic for targeting vulnerable immigrant communities that has become common under the Trump Administration.
Another measure, the Reunite Every Unaccompanied Newborn Infant Toddler and Other Children Expeditiously (REUNITE) Act, would require the immediate reunification of children who were separated from their parent or legal guardian as a result of the administration’s “zero tolerance” policy.
Finally, the ICE and CBP Body Camera Accountability Act would require Immigration and Customs Enforcement and Customs and Border Patrol officers to wear body cameras and would make footage available for any legal proceedings.
The proposals have been endorsed by a number of leading advocacy groups outlined below:
Reunite Every Unaccompanied Newborn Infant Toddler and Other Children Expeditiously (REUNITE) Act: Asian & Pacific Islander American Health Forum; Center for Law and Social Policy (CLASP); Church World Service; First Focus Campaign for Children; Franciscan Action Network; Hispanic Federation; League of United Latin American Citizens (LULAC); Lutheran Immigration and Refugee Service; Massachusetts Immigrant and Refugee Advocacy Coalition (MIRA); Moms Rising; National Advocacy Center of the Sisters of the Good Shepherd; National Council of Jewish Women; National Immigration Law Center; NETWORK Lobby for Catholic Social Justice; New York Immigration Coalition; Ounce of Prevention Fund; Make the Road NY; Southern Border Communities Coalition; Families Belong Together
Protecting Sensitive Locations Act: American Civil Liberties Union; Asian & Pacific Islander American Health Forum; Asian Pacific Institute on Gender-Based Violence; Association of Asian Pacific Community Health Organizations; Causa Oregon; Center for Law and Social Policy (CLASP); Children’s Aid NYC; Church World Service; Congregation of Our Lady of Charity of the Good Shepherd, US Provinces ; Empire Justice Center; Families Belong Together; Farmworker Justice; FIRM Action; First Focus Campaign for Children; Franciscan Action Network; Futures Without Violence; Guttmacher Institute; Hispanic Federation; Illinois Coalition for Immigrant and Refugee Rights (ICIRR); Lawyers for Children; League of United Latin American Citizens (LULAC); Legal Aid Society (New York); Make the Road NY; Massachusetts Immigrant and Refugee Advocacy Coalition (MIRA); Moms Rising; National Advocacy Center of the Sisters of the Good Shepherd; National Alliance to End Sexual Violence; National Asian Pacific American Women's Forum; National Association for College Admission Counseling; National Association of Social Workers (NASW); National Council of Jewish Women; National Domestic Violence Hotline; National Education Association; National Health Care for the Homeless Council; National Housing Law Project; National Human Services Assembly; National Immigration Law Center; National WIC Association; Neighborhood Defender Service of Harlem; NETWORK Lobby for Catholic Social Justice; New York Immigration Coalition; Oregon Interfaith Movement for Immigrant Justice; Ounce of Prevention Fund; Sargent Shriver National Center on Poverty Law; Service Employees International Union; Share Our Strength, No Kid Hungry Campaign; Sisters of Mercy of the Americas – Institute Justice Team; The Bronx Defenders; T'ruah: The Rabbinic Call for Human Rights; Virginia Coalition of Latino Organizations (VACOLAO); Women’s Refugee Commission; YWCA USA; Asian Health Services, Oakland, CA; Asian Services in Action (Asia, Inc.); California Immigrant Policy Center (CIPC); Casa San Jose; Coalition on Human Needs (CHN); Conference of Presentation Sisters; Families Belong Together; Indivisible; OneAmerica; Power-PAC Illinois, a project of COFI; Utahns Against Hunger; Charlotte Center for Legal Advocacy; Community Clinic Consortium; Casa de Esperanza: National Latin@ Network; Southern Border Communities Coalition
ICE and CBP Body Camera Accountability Act: American Civil Liberties Union; Church World Service; Families Belong Together; Franciscan Action Network; Hispanic Federation; League of United Latin American Citizens (LULAC); Make the Road NY; Massachusetts Immigrant and Refugee Advocacy Coalition (MIRA); Moms Rising; National Advocacy Center of the Sisters of the Good Shepherd; NETWORK Lobby for Catholic Social Justice; New York Immigration Coalition
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First elected to Congress in 2016, Rep. Adriano Espaillat is serving his second term in Congress where he serves as a member of the influential U.S. House Foreign Affairs Committee, the House Committee on Transportation and Infrastructure, and the House Small Business Committee. He is a member of the Congressional Hispanic Caucus (CHC) and serves in a leadership role as CHC Whip. He is also chairman of the CHC Task Force for Transportation, Infrastructure and Housing. Rep. Espaillat’s Congressional District includes Harlem, East Harlem, northern Manhattan and the north-west Bronx. To find out more about Rep. Espaillat, visit online at https://espaillat.house.gov/.
Media inquiries: Candace Randle Person at Candace.Person@mail.house.gov