Bill Threatens the Safety and Well-being of Children and Family Values

WASHINGTON, DC – Today, the House Judiciary Subcommittee on Immigration Policy and Enforcement held a hearing on the Hinder the Administration’s Legalization Temptation Act (HALT Act), a bill introduced by Representative Lamar Smith (R-TX) that would suspend critical discretionary forms of immigration relief until January 21, 2013.

The First Focus Campaign for Children, a bipartisan children’s advocacy organization, voiced its strong opposition to the bill as it would limit the Administration’s ability to respond to humanitarian crises and directly threaten the safety and well-being of children and families.

Bruce Lesley, President of the First Focus Campaign for Children, issued the following statement:

“In America, we believe in putting children first and keeping families together. That is why we have policies in place to provide immigration relief for humanitarian purposes and in cases where the best interest of a child is at stake.One such child is Christela, a young Haitian orphan with HIV who nearly lost her life following the 2010 earthquake. A few weeks following the earthquake, the U.S. granted Christela humanitarian parole, enabling her to unite with her adoptive family and receive the life-saving medications she so urgently needed. Without humanitarian parole, which the HALT Act would suspend, Christela may not be with us today.

“The HALT Act is irresponsible legislation that directly threatens children and families in the most need and does nothing to fix our broken immigration system. Ultimately, it benefits no one to deport a young person who was brought to the U.S. as a child, to separate a terminally ill child from a parent, or to deny Americans the ability to respond to humanitarian crises overseas involving orphaned children like those in Haiti. In fact, it defies common sense. As advocates for children, we firmly believe that the Administration must retain discretion to grant common sense and humanitarian immigration relief that is consistent with the family values our nation cherishes.”

Read the First Focus Campaign for Children’s statement for the record for today’s hearing.
To learn more about the HALT Act, view this fact sheet by the Immigration Policy Center.