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Congressman Cleaver Joins Fellow Democrats Calling For Trump Administration to Immediately Release Children with their Families from ICE Detention

Jul 6, 2020
Press Release

(Washington, D.C.) - United States Representative Emanuel Cleaver II (D-MO) has joined the Congressional Hispanic Caucus and 79 fellow lawmakers in demanding the release of all parents and children being held in immigration and family detention centers by July 17. This comes following a recent order from District Court Judge Dolly Gee of the Central District of California, which required Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) to release all children held for more than 20 days at Karnes, Dilley and Berks detention facilities. In the letter to Acting Homeland Security Secretary Chad Wolf and Acting Director of Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) Matthew Albence, the lawmakers expressed their concern for children and parents exposed to unsafe living conditions as a result of ICE’s inability to take the necessary precautions amidst the COVID-19 pandemic. Judge Gee observed in her ruling that these facilities are now “on fire” due to ICE’s failure to ensure “the basics,” and because of COVID-19 outbreaks in each facility’s surrounding area.

In the letter, the lawmakers wrote:

“Since the COVID-19 crisis started, Members of Congress, advocates, attorneys, and doctors have continuously urged ICE to use its authority to release detained families. We know the Administration has a history of separating thousands of children from their parents. Family separation should never be this country’s policy,” the Members wrote. “We call upon ICE to act with compassion and release families together. Once these families are free from detention, together, we urge ICE to commit to a permanent policy of family unity and to seek alternatives to family detention– including release on recognizance or community-driven support - in every case.”

“Family separation should never have become policy in the first place,” said Rep. Cleaver. “Now, with COVID-19 running rampant and ICE unable to protect the men, women and children detained in these facilities, it’s more important than ever that these children are released with their families. We will continue to push this Administration to keep families together and end the traumatic, inhumane policy of family separation.”

You can find the official letter from lawmakers here.


Emanuel Cleaver, II is the U.S. Representative for Missouri's Fifth Congressional District, which includes Kansas City, Independence, Lee's Summit, Raytown, Grandview, Sugar Creek, Blue Springs, Grain Valley, Oak Grove, North Kansas City, Gladstone, Claycomo, and all of Ray, Lafayette, and Saline Counties. He is a member of the exclusive House Financial Services Committee; Chairman of the House Subcommittee on National Security, International Development, and Monetary Policy; member of the Select Committee on the Modernization of Congress; member of the Committee on Homeland Security; and a Senior Whip of the Democratic Caucus. For more information, please contact Matt Helfant at 202-590-0175 or A high-resolution photo of Congressman Cleaver is available here.