Lawmakers Meet in Grand Rapids to Visit Children Separated at the Border

The discussion over illegal immigration is also going on here in Michigan.

On Thursday, lawmakers from both parties visited a center holding children to discuss a plan for getting them back with their families.

A handful of children who were cared for at Bethany Christian Services, who were separated at the border, have been reunited with their families but lawmakers want more action.

Democrat Representative in the 5th District, Dan Kildee said, “It’s really heartbreaking to see young children who should never have been taken from their parents thousands of miles away from the only person they know, the person that gave birth to them, the people who love them.”

Attending the visit was also U.S. Reps. Debbie Dingell, Democrat Rep. of the 12th District, Republican Rep. Bill Huizenga of the 2nd District and Ohio Congressman Tim Ryan, met with the kids at the global nonprofit that provides care for children in need.

They are concerned about the trauma the kids have endured.

“They still carry with them the moment, the memory of the moment they were taken from their mom

or dad or grandparent in some cases not even being told of where they’re going,” said Kildee.

Federal courts ruled that separated families must be reunited by the end of the month.

“You have to make sure these kids who are coming across with someone who claims to be a parent or an uncle or some other family member actually is,” said Huizenga.

“Reunifying these children with their families in cages isn’t reunification. The president head of Bethany kept talking about the importance of reunifying these children in community,” said Dingell.

Dan Kildee hopes the president will bring back a program that could be an alternative.

“Family Case Management Program and just to describe it in short, families come to the border, they’re apprehended, the date is set for their initial claim and they are treated just like a pretrial case treated like any city in America,” said Kildee.

Dingell says Bethany Christian Services knows where the children’s families are.

Children younger than five-years-old must be reunited with their family by Tuesday.