U.S. Senator Ted Cruz announced legislation today that would stop the practice of separating kids from parents who cross border illegally. The measure would include those seeking asylum but crossing illegally into the United States.

In announcing the legislation, Senator Cruz said the practice of separating kids from their parents "must stop". In a press release, Cruz said that children have been the greatest victims of the immigration system which Cruz called "broken".

“All Americans are rightly horrified by the images we are seeing on the news, children in tears pulled away from their mothers and fathers. This must stop. Now. We can end this crisis by passing the legislation I am introducing this week.

“Repeatedly, I have visited detention facilities tragically housing young children.  For far too long, children have been the greatest victims of our broken immigration system, with tens of thousands of children who were detained under the Obama Administration and continuing through today, and with far too many of those children facing horrific physical or sexual assault from criminal human traffickers.

“The answer is not what congressional Democrats are proposing: simply releasing illegal aliens and returning to the failed policy of ‘catch and release.’ Rather, we should fix the backlog in immigration cases, remove the legal barriers to swift processing, and resolve asylum cases on an expedited basis.

“While these cases are pending, families should stay together. Children belong with their mothers and fathers. Once their cases have been adjudicated – under my legislation, in no longer than 14 days – those who meet the legal standard should be granted asylum and those who don’t should be immediately returned to their home country.”

The legislation Cruz will file this week is called the "Protect Kids and Parents Act. The legislation has four main parts.

  • Double the number of federal immigration judges, from roughly 375 to 750.
  • Authorize new temporary shelters, with accommodations to keep families together.
  • Mandate that illegal immigrant families must be kept together, absent aggravated criminal conduct or threat of harm to the children.
  • Provide for expedited processing and review of asylum cases, so that—within 14 days—those who meet the legal standards will be granted asylum, and those who do not will be immediately returned to their home countries.

The legislation announced by Cruz is the latest piece of legislation filed to tackle what many see as a growing problem along the border. Democrats and Republicans have come out against the separation of kids from parents as has President Trump though the White House continues to defend the practice.

Senator John Cornyn has also said he will introduce legislation to stop the separation of families.