In response to today’s introduction of the Children’s Safe Welcome ActBruce Lesley, President of First Focus Campaign for Children, released the following statement:

“For too long, our immigration system has treated children as an afterthought and sometimes has made cruelty to children the point. The Children’s Safe Welcome Act ensures that immigrant children seeking safety at our border are able to have what every child needs — family, safe places to call home, and support and services to help them build a successful future. We thank Senators Merkley, Gillibrand and Durbin and Representative Bass — all of them Champions for Children — for introducing this bill, and call on members of Congress to ensure the principles of this bill are made law, whether by legislation or in government funding decisions.”

The Children’s Safe Welcome Act is one of the first pieces of Congressional legislation to explicitly include a “best interests of the child” standard for federal policy, a standard that First Focus on Children has championed since our founding in 2005. In a May 2022 poll of likely voters conducted by Lake Research Partners, 82 percent of voters agreed that federal policy should always be governed by a “best interest of the child” standard. Voters similarly supported such a standard in 2020.