ACM Statement on the Humane Treatment of Immigrant Children in Detention

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The Association of Children's Museums (ACM) calls for a more permanent policy effort to ensure the immediate, humane treatment of immigrant and refugee children and families in detention.

Through forced separations and inhumane treatment in overcrowded, unsanitary facilities, the United States is denying children their basic human rights. ACM calls for the immediate, humane treatment of these children and families.

The children’s museum field believes that all children are valued citizens, and our daily work reflects our commitment to this ideal. Children’s museums support the United Nation’s Declaration of the Rights of the Child, which states that children, no matter their country of origin, have the right to “to develop physically, mentally, morally, spiritually, and socially in a healthy and normal manner and in conditions of freedom and dignity.”

Over the last two years, the Association of Children’s Museums (ACM) has been vocal in standing up for immigrant and refugee families, guided by the vision of a world that honors all children and respects the diverse ways in which they learn and develop. However, conditions at the border have not improved but instead have deteriorated, as documented by the Department of Homeland Security’s Office of Inspector General. Through forced separations and inhumane treatment in overcrowded, unsanitary facilities, the United States is denying children their basic human rights. ACM calls for the immediate, humane treatment of these children and families.

On July 2, President Trump signed into law a bill providing $4.6 billion in emergency funding to address the humanitarian crisis at the U.S./Mexico border. ACM calls for these funds to be responsibly stewarded in service of providing aid for the humane treatment of children. We are hopeful this legislative action will result in swift, effective, and above all, compassionate improvements to conditions at the border. However, ACM recognizes that this emergency funding is a stopgap, and does not ensure adequate humanitarian response to the most vulnerable asylum seekers. Of particular concern, the bill still allows for minors to be placed in facilities that are not licensed to care for them (H.R. 3401, Sections 404-406).

ACM calls for a more permanent policy effort to make sure these abuses stop happening and never happen again. The Association of Children’s Museums encourages our community to contact their Congressional representatives to make their voices heard: to ensure the current emergency funding bill is used for the responsible care of children; to end family separations; and to encourage additional bipartisan legislative action to resolve this humanitarian crisis with the well-being of children and families at its center.

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