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Congresswoman Wilson Leads Letter to DeSantis Calling for End to Harmful Policies Against Unaccompanied Children

Representatives Wilson, Crist, Frankel Send Letter to DeSantis Calling for End to Harmful Policies Against Unaccompanied Children

Today, Congresswoman Frederica S. Wilson (FL-24), Congressman Charlie Crist (FL-13), and Congresswoman Lois Frankel (FL-21) sent a letter to Florida Governor Ron DeSantis urging his Administration to rescind its September 28 Executive Order and December 10 emergency rule ending the care of children in licensed facilities.

The September 28 EO and December 10 rule block facilities that care for unaccompanied children from renewing their license, prevent facilities from adding "to their existing unaccompanied child population," and create new burdens for families seeking to reunite with children. In their letter to Florida's Governor, Representatives Wilson, Crist, and Frankel call on the DeSantis Administration to rescind its policies, noting their threat to the overall welfare of children and future of Florida's shelters and foster homes.

Congresswoman Frederica S. Wilson

"It is disheartening that Governor DeSantis is willing to jeopardize the welfare of children who, in many instances, have put their lives on the line to escape traumatizing and dangerous conditions. These policies, which have no valid justification, cruelly and unnecessarily deny children the care and support that licensed caregivers are best able to provide. Child welfare experts, community and faith leaders, and Floridians agree: all children deserve to be treated with dignity."

Congressman Charlie Crist

"The actions taken by Governor DeSantis and his Administration rob Florida non-profits and faith organizations of resources they use to care for children and reunite them with their families. I'm proud to join with my Florida colleagues, immigrant advocates, and spiritual leaders of all faiths in demanding that Governor DeSantis turn away from this shameful, punitive act and put children ahead of politics."

Congresswoman Lois Frankel

"Children deserve to be treated with dignity and respect, regardless of where they come from. Many of these kids fled to our country to escape violence, and the Governor's decision to put their care at risk by threatening the organizations keeping them safe is un-American, inhumane, and wrong."

Bruce Lesley, President of First Focus on Children

"We are grateful to the members of Congress who have joined the chorus of child advocates, business leaders, faith leaders, and former unaccompanied children to stand with and defend children who arrive at our border today seeking safety. Governor DeSantis' actions to withhold licensing from facilities caring for unaccompanied children puts children at risk of harm—a result that should be unacceptable for any government policy. We urge the Governor to change course and ensure that the best interests of children, regardless of who they are or where they come from, is the​ guiding principle of all U.S. policy."

Eskinder Negash, President and CEO of the U.S. Committee for Refugees and Immigrants

"Unaccompanied children need care and support while they await reunification with their families. Florida has a noble history of welcoming immigrant children who are victims of political, social, and economic crises, including 14,000 unaccompanied Cuban minors in 1960 to 1962 in Operation Pedro Pan. All children deserve to be treated with dignity, and all children deserve to be with loving families, no matter where they come from. I thank the members of the Florida Congressional delegation for their continued attention to and support for the needs of unaccompanied children in the state and nationally."


Co-signers of the letter include Congresswoman Kathy Castor, Congresswoman Sheila Cherfilus-McCormick, Congressman Ted Deutch, Congressman Al Lawson, Congressman Darren Soto, and Congresswoman Debbie Wasserman Schultz.