UCSB professor Manuel Casas spoke before the United States Congress earlier this month on behalf of immigrant children.
Casas, a professor emeritus of counseling, clinical and school psychology in the Gevirtz Graduate School of Education, spoke at a congressional briefing in favor of two bills recently introduced by the House of Representatives. The bills — the Humane Enforcement & Legal Protections for Separated Children Act, also known as the H.E.L.P. Separated Children Act, and the Immigration Oversight & Fairness Act — both present guidelines for the humane treatment of detained illegal immigrants and their children.
Casas said that the bills do not address immigration reform, but instead focus on the treatment of individuals already detained by the law.
“These bills have nothing to do with immigration reform,” Casas said in a press release. “They don’t address whether or not illegal immigrants should be allowed to stay in the United States. They address how people, and particularly children, should be treated as they go through the judicial process. People can still be deported after proper hearings and so forth, but in the interim, treat them humanely and do as little damage to the children as possible.”
The H.E.L.P. Separated Children Act aims to protect detained persons who belong to vulnerable population groups, as well as require immigration detention facilities to preserve family unity. The bill would amend both the Immigration & Nationality Act and the Social Security Act.
The second bill, the Immigration Oversight & Fairness Act, focuses on the reform of immigration detention facility standards, including a statute requiring Dept. of Homeland Security personnel to be trained for confrontation with unattended illegal alien children.