U.S. Representative Jared Polis

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Polis meets with immigrant mothers detained in Aurora who were separated from their children at the border

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Boulder, June 23, 2018 | comments

Rep. Jared Polis, D-Colo., along with Rep. Luis Gutiérrez, D-Ill., visited with migrant mothers at the immigration detention facility in Aurora yesterday. The Trump administration separated the mothers from their young children at the southern border in May, and has detained them ever since, now in Colorado.

“I spoke with three mothers, and through their tears, they described horrors that no parent should ever have to go through. They entered the U.S. seeking refuge, only to have our own government rip their children from their arms,” said Polis. “While the Trump administration claims to have ended the separation of children and parents, these mothers continue to be locked up here in Colorado with barely any communication with their children - and some parents still don’t even know where their kids are sheltered. The truth is that the Trump administration had no plan to reunite the over 2,000 families affected and still doesn’t. It’s shameful, but I pledge to help the parents detained in Colorado locate and reunite with their children one by one if that’s what it takes.”

Polis and Gutiérrez visited with three mothers from Guatemala whose five and six-year old children are now in shelters in Texas, New York, and Arizona. All entered the U.S. seeking asylum. The mothers worry about the mental well-being, as well as the physical well-being of their children, as one child has a heart abnormality and another has a debilitating bone disease.  

The Rocky Mountain Immigrant Advocacy Network estimates there are approximately 50 parents at the privately-run GEO Group Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) Denver Contract Detention Facility in Aurora. Their children are spread out across the U.S., and some of the parents do not know of their location.

"There is no end in sight to the current human rights crisis that has developed as a result of the federal government's abhorrent family separation policies at the border.  Every day, immigrant parents are suffering in detention facilities across the country, including here in Aurora, with little to no information about the whereabouts or well-being of their children. Until each of those parents is reunited with their child or children, and until a humane immigration system that is not predicated on the mass incarceration of immigrants is put into place, RMIAN will continue providing critical legal representation and fighting for the rights of those in immigration detention," said Tanika Vigil, Detention Attorney at the Rocky Mountain Immigrant Advocacy Network (RMIAN).

Around 2,300 children remain separated from their parents today, and the Trump administration lacks a plan for when or how to reunite the families.

Polis has been at the forefront of attempting to stop the Trump administration from separating children and parents at the border and reuniting families.

  • Polis is an original cosponsor of the Keeping Families Together Act to override the Trump administration by prohibiting the separation of children and parents at the border.
  • Polis demanded that the Office of Refugee Resettlement (ORR) and U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) answer key questions about the safety of the children in custody and the plan to reunify children and parents.
  • Polis is a sponsor of a resolution condemning the separation of children and parents at the border.
  • Polis signed a petition to force Congress to debate immigration policies to save the dreamers, as well as address other atrocities within the immigration system.
  • In May, Jared sent a letter to the Subcommittee on Homeland Security condemning the separation of children and parents at the border.  

About Polis:

Polis has been a consummate champion for fixing our broken immigration system to align with American values since joining Congress.  In October 2013, he introduced the Border Security, Economic Opportunity, and Immigration Modernization Act, a bill that would have improved national security, streamlined our country’s guest worker system, and created a pathway to citizenship for millions of undocumented individuals.  The Congressional Budget Office estimated that the bill would have reduced the deficit by nearly $200 billion over ten years.  The Senate companion of this landmark bill passed in June 2013 and was widely heralded as one of the most significant attempts at comprehensive immigration reform in decades.  He is also the co-chair of the Congressional Mexico Friendship Caucus.

Prior to serving in Congress, Polis founded The New America School - a network of charter schools in several states serving new immigrants and English-language learners.

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