First Focus on Children sent this letter signed by 30 organizations to Department of Homeland Security (DHS) Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas to thank him for the work he has done to advance children’s best interests within DHS, including facilitating the reunification of children forcibly separated from parents under the previous Administration, and to applaud President Biden for recently signing into law H.R. 4426, “Homeland Security for Children Act.” In addition, we asked the Secretary to swiftly act to implement this bill by adopting child impact statements for department policies and designating high-level leadership on children’s issues within the agency.

Excerpt from the letter:

Every issue is a kids’ issue, and homeland security is no exception. DHS has authorization over a wide range of issues, from disaster management to immigration to terrorism. All these issues impact children. Children are disproportionately impacted by natural disasters, whether they face physical injury, are cut off from food or medical care, face school disruption, or experience declines in mental health. In immigration, children and families make up a larger share of those arriving at our border seeking protection and the agency’s enforcement policies have consequences for children in immigrant families. Children are also impacted by terrorist attacks—for example, after the September 11 attacks, 35 percent of parents reported that their children had at least one stress symptom, and almost half reported that their children were worried about their safety or the safety of their family. The global phenomena of increased natural disasters and forced migration, as well as recent domestic terrorism attacks in the United States, make this bill’s enactment particularly timely.

Read the full letter.