Washington, DC—Below is a statement by U.S. Conference of Mayors President and Columbia (SC) Mayor Steve Benjamin on the federal government’s efforts to reunify separated families:

“While America’s mayors are pleased that federal authorities reported last night that they have reunited more than 1,800 children separated from their parents at the border, we remain deeply concerned about the 700 children whom they have deemed “ineligible” for reunification.  What will happen to them?  With each step the federal government takes to rectify this humanitarian crisis, more questions arise, and a confusing situation becomes even more chaotic.

As city leaders, we want to ensure that the children who have been sent to shelters or other facilities in our cities have the services and assistance they need.  But federal authorities generally do not notify us when they send children to our cities, and they do not make it easy to find out if they are there. This is not only frustrating — it is unacceptable.

As mayors and as parents, we know this is an urgent matter.  Every day these children and their families are separated adds to the heartbreak and the trauma they are enduring. Our nation is better than this. The situation we are facing is far from over, and it requires us to put aside our partisan differences and find common ground.

Once again, the U.S. Conference of Mayors urges the Administration to act quickly and transparently in reuniting all of the children with their families. We also restate our firm belief that the Administration must provide reunited families with the due process to which they are entitled under our Constitution.

It is well past time for the Administration to resolve this crisis.  America’s mayors stand ready to do everything we can to help expedite this process and finally bring families back together.”