LI lawmakers tour Syosset facility housing migrant children

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Nassau County Executive Laura Curran and Rep. Tom Suozzi on Monday toured the Syosset facility that is housing migrant children who were separated from their families at the southern border.

The facility, MercyFirst, is now housing 10 immigrant children who were separated from their parents after arriving in the U.S. illegally. Rep. Suozzi says the children range in age from 4 to 17, and come from countries including Brazil, Honduras and Nicaragua. Suozzi says two new children arrived at the facility just this past weekend.

"We're 3,000 miles from the border here in Nassau County, but we have kids here in our county, and we need to care for them," Curran says.

Suozzi and Curran praised MercyFirst, saying the children are receiving great care. But there are still concerns about the impacts that the separations will have.

"We're very concerned about the psychological toll that family separation takes on children," Suozzi says.

Suozzi and Curran say they did not have much direct contact with the children, but that they did appear to be in good spirits.

The visit comes as the Trump administration says reunification efforts are underway, and protests over the zero-tolerance policy that sparked the separations continue—and as President Trump continues to push for tougher immigration laws.

Suozzi says the immigration crisis is symptomatic of a larger issue: the heated, polarizing rhetoric on both sides of the aisle that has left the children without a solution

"These are life-and-death issues in people's lives, and it's serious business," the congressman says. "And politics have been so small and so petty and so cynical, that we have forgotten how important this work really is."

Suozzi says eight of the 10 children at the facility have been in contact with their parents.

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