CHICAGO (CBS) — 66 migrant children taken from their parents were brought to Chicago under the administration’s Zero Tolerance policy.
U.S. Senator Dick Durbin met with some of the children being sheltered in Chicago.
CBS 2’s Roseanne Tellez was there when he lashed out at the administration for a policy he calls cruel and inhumane.
“It is terrible at a young age to be separated from your mother and your father. That’s what happened as official government policy,” stated Senator Dick Durbin.
Of the 451 children being cared for at nine Heartland Alliance facilities, 66 are in Chicago because of the zero tolerance policy.
One third of those children are under the age of five. The Senator described the facility like a daycare center.
Evelyn Diaz, the President of Heartland, said, “These children are scared when they arrive at our doors,” saying most have left the border areas with little information about their loved ones. The priority is to help reconnect them to the family they left behind.
“We’re like on a scavenger hunt. We talk to the kids, we find out if they had a destination, if they have family members they were planning to reunite with here,” said Diaz. “We ask if they have phone numbers. We call detention facilities. We sleuth it out.”
Diaz estimates they’ve found relatives for two thirds of the 66 kids.
“There’s nothing, nothing said about what we’re going to do to reunite them or take care of them,” stated Durbin. “Are we going to accept this? Is Zero Tolerance America’s policy? I don’t think so.”
The Senator says one bright spot today was when he handed the migrant children cards sent by other kids.
“It does make a difference, clearly, the kids just lit up!” stated Durbin.
He says they seemed surprised and happy to hear other children cared about them.
Senator Dick Durbin says he will meet with a bipartisan group of senators Monday to see if they can come up with what he called a “sensible and humane way to give these kids a fighting chance.”