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At a Senate hearing today, Senator Murray demanded an end to the inhumane treatment of children and families at the southern border, discussed potential long-term impacts  

Senator Murray heard from medical and legal professionals about the spread of disease and glaring lack of medical care in grossly overcrowded border facilities

Witnesses called government treatment of migrant children, some as young as infants, “sadistic” and “cruel,” and described border facilities as “a system designed to make children ill”

Hearing follows Senator Murray’s introduction of the Stop Cruelty to Migrant Children Act, which would end family separations at the border, strengthen health and safety protections for children and families, and provide additional guardrails and stronger standards to ensure that government funds are not used to traumatize or harm asylum seekers

Senator Murray: “I want to be clear: we cannot let this stand. And I’m proud that we are here today, learning what we can and making a stand…we’re going to take care of these children and do everything we can to fight for them”

***WATCH FULL VIDEO OF SENATOR MURRAY’S REMARKS HERE***

(Washington, D.C.) – U.S. Senator Patty Murray (D-WA), the top Democrat on the Senate health committee, today continued her work to hold President Trump and his administration accountable for their cruel treatment of migrant children and families at the southern border. Joined by a group of her Senate Democratic colleagues, Senator Murray helped lead a hearing on President Trump’s continued separation of families and the inhumane conditions and treatment of thousands of families and children in U.S. immigration facilities. During the hearing, Senator Murray heard from a panel of medical and legal professionals, activists, and immigration policy experts regarding the experiences of children in U.S. government custody at the border, and the potential long-term consequences that may result from President Trump’s cruel immigration policies.

In her remarks, Senator Murray drew from stories told to her by young people in Washington state who recently came to the U.S. via the southern border, and questioned the witnesses about what the government should be doing to ensure children in U.S. custody are being properly cared for. During the hearing Senator Murray heard from Hope Frye, a legal expert and Executive Director of Project Lifeline, an immigration advocacy group, about the inhumane conditions facing many migrant children in U.S. custody, such as being held in cages so crowded that children and mothers were forced to stand for days on end, and how that has led to the spread of diseases among detained children. Another witness, Dr. Amy Cohen of the Human Rights Asylum Network, shared how in addition to the overcrowded and unsanitary conditions, there is also insufficient medical care available for migrants children and families, calling the child detention process, “a system designed to make children ill.”

This hearing comes after Senator Murray has helped lead the charge in working to end President Trump’s appalling treatment of migrant children and families at the southern border. In addition to the Stop Cruelty to Migrant Children Act which she introduced two weeks ago, Senator Murray has also introduced legislation to prevent the separation of families at sensitive locations such as schools, religious institutions, and hospitals, and demanded the President maintain the “Parole in Place” (PIP) program, which prevents immigrants who are spouses, parents, and children of active-duty servicemembers and veterans from being deported.

Watch video of Senator Murray’s full remarks and questions HERE.

Read the full text of Senator Murray’s remarks below:

“Thank you to everyone who’s put this together and thank you to all our great panelists for being here and all your great work in this arena.

"I want to start by sharing some of what I heard when I spoke to young people in Washington state last week, who recently came to the U.S. via the southern border.

“The experiences these children shared about crossing the border were more than any person should have to endure, but what troubled me even more was what I heard about how these children were treated in U.S. custody.  

“They were denied showers for days. They were being fed, and I quote, ‘terrible’ food—thrown to them on the floor—without enough to even go around. Thrown to them on the floor. They were being told not to touch other scared and suffering children—for fear of spreading disease—and being spoken to and treated like animals. So no human contact—don’t touch anybody.

“I could go on. It was horrendous what I heard. I know this has been reported in numerous places, but I want to be clear: we cannot let this stand. And I’m proud that we are here today, learning what we can and making a stand. That as Democrats in particular, we’re going to take care of these children and do everything we can to fight for them.”

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