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Sandoval: Illinois should do all it can for migrant children

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CHICAGO – Illinois shelters are home to 66 children separated from their parents under President Donald Trump’s border policies and Senator Martin A. Sandoval (D-Chicago) is calling for the state to do all it can to reunite the shattered families.

“Two-thirds of these children are younger than five years old,” Sandoval said. “They are scared, missing their parents and vulnerable because of the vicious whims of our president. Our state has the power to bring these children back to their parents and demonstrate the compassion for which the United States of America is supposed to stand. I call upon our leaders to do so.”

Sandoval, the co-chairman of the Illinois Latino Caucus, said the Department of Children and Family Services has licensing power over the Illinois shelters and should dedicate any necessary resources to reuniting families.

The nine shelters in Illinois that house the children are run by the non-profit Heartland Alliance. U.S. Senator Dick Durbin announced in a press conference Friday that he visited the facilities and witnessed the children receiving “good care.”

“I join Senator Durbin in calling upon President Trump to once again make the United States of America a country that observes the principles of our sacred bill of rights,” Sandoval said. 

The nine Heartland shelters in Illinois house 451 immigrant children, most of them unaccompanied minors. Heartland representatives said they are seeing an increase in arrivals and an increase in the level of trauma and services needed to care for the minors in their shelters.

“It’s clear the U.S. government is unprepared to care for these children and it’s horrifying that our president believes government shelters are a better place for them than their parents’ arms,” Sandoval said. “Everything about this is wrong. While Illinois only houses a small portion of these children, we have the power to send a message to the nation and the world as to how to handle this disastrous situation.”