Norcross Announces Legislation to Allow Legislators Immediate Visits to Separated Children
Following Personal Experience Being Told He Would Have to Wait Two Weeks to Visit Children Being Held in His District at The Center for Family Services in Camden, NJ, Norcross Unveils Bill to Prevent Future Hold-Ups for Legislators
The Media and Others Will Not Be Covered By the Bill and may or may not be permitted to enter the facilities after a two-week waiting period.
The ‘Restoring Oversight for Members of Congress Act’ Will Remove Two-Week Waiting Period for Legislators only
CAMDEN, NJ – On Friday June 29, Congressman Donald Norcross (NJ-01) held a press conference in front of the U.S. District Court for the District of New Jersey in Camden to announce legislation he helped introduce to ensure that Members of Congress can fulfill their constitutional oversight duties by visiting federal facilities, like those run by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS), without delays or undue obstacles gaining access, his office announced.
“At the end of last week, I found out that separated children are being housed in South Jersey and I immediately reached out to request to see the children. Unfortunately, HHS has a two-week notice policy they refused to waive in these extreme circumstances,” said Congressman Norcross. “The public’s representative has a right to visit these children and make sure they’ve been treated well and that efforts are being made to reunify them with their families. Right now, it seems easier to visit nuclear weapons sites than kids in my own district who have been forcibly taken from their parents – and that must change.”
The Congressman plans to visit a local site he Center for Family Services in July, he said.
More than 2,000 children were separated from their parents when they were detained at the southwest border, according to the Federal Government and news reports. The children are being held at more than 100 sites in 17 states, including New Jersey. A federal judge has ordered that the children be reunited with their families within 30 days. The Trump administration has said it will have difficulty meeting that timeline.
An immigration reform bill was rejected in the U.S. House of Representatives the last week of June 2018.
If a Republican-crafted bill were to emerge from the House, a version of the proposed legislation would need 60 votes in the Senate, some of which would have to come from Democrats from the party of Norcross.
Norcross said: “Family separation is immoral and un-American. I am a father, a grandfather and like most Americans, the descendant of immigrants. In this country, diversity is our strength and compassion is our value. Ripping apart families goes against those virtues.”
NJ State Senator Nilsa Cruz-Perez and Camden Mayor Frank Moran and several religious leaders also attended the press conference.