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Fmr. MN State Senator to Sen. Franken, Senate Judiciary Panel: Immigration Reform Must Protect Children

Mee Moua Appeared Before Judiciary Committee to Discuss Impact of Immigration Reform on Families

Tuesday, March 19, 2013

A former Minnesota State Senator told U.S. Senator Al Franken (D-Minn.) and other members of the Senate Judiciary Committee today that immigration reform must put an end to the "heartbreaking stories" of children in Minnesota and across the country who have been left behind when their parents are detained or deported after federal immigration enforcement raids.

Mee Moua, who served in the Minnesota State Senate until 2011 and now heads the Asian American Justice Center in Washington, DC, appeared at the hearing. At the hearing, she and Sen. Franken discussed the lack of protections for children, many of whom are U.S. citizens, whose parents are caught up in immigration raids.

"It is unthinkable to imagine a child being abandoned without any communication with their parents or guardians," said Sen. Franken. "After hearing heartbreaking stories about Minnesotans, and hearing from Mee Moua at today's panel, I plan to continue to work on legislation to make sure children are protected and taken care of if one of their parents is deported."

During the hearing, Sen. Franken discussed cases of children who found themselves unable to contact their parents after they were deported and who lacked any legal representation when they went before immigration judges. In 2010, Sen. Franken introduced the Humane Enforcement and Legal Protections (HELP) for Separated Children Act to keep kids safe, informed, and accounted for during Immigrations and Customs Enforcement (ICE) raids. This bill was inspired by the 2006 ICE raids in Worthington, Minnesota, which resulted in arrests of many undocumented parents but also left many young children without any parent or legal guardian to care for them.

Over 200,000 parents of U.S.-citizen children have been deported in the past two years, and many of their children have been left without parental supervision, or any way of contacting their parents.

For photos of Sen. Franken with Mee Moua click here and here. For a photo of Mee Moua with Sens. Franken and Mazie Hirono (D-Hawaii), click here. For video of Sen. Franken and Mee Moua, click here.

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