Yesterday, the House caved in and passed the Republican Senate version of “supplemental emergency” funding for the Department of Homeland Security, Health and Human Services, and the U.S. military to use in border enforcement. The bill’s backers said it was necessary to meet humanitarian needs at the border. That’s a perversion of the term “humanitarian.”
The main problems with the bill:
- It imposes no new safeguards on a clearly abusive system that has left adult detainees crammed into cells so tightly that they cannot sit or lie down and has deprived children of soap, water, food, and medical care.
- The money appropriated can be used to build new detention facilities, or to contract with private prisons to lock up more desperate. asylum seekers.
- The bill provides massive additional funding for enforcement, giving money to ICE (Immigration and Customs Enforcement) and to CBP (Customs and Border Protection) and to the U.S. military for operations on the border. This is money to chase and detain and deport—not for humanitarian aid.
Minnesota Congress Representative Betty McCollum explained her vote against the Republican bill that finally passed:
“Yesterday the House passed Sen. McConnell’s Republican version of a humanitarian aid bill that did not provide enough legal protections to ensure these children are cared for in a manner that guarantees transparency and accountability. I could not in good conscience vote to provide the Trump administration with additional funding without strict and enforceable conditions to protect the well-being of these vulnerable children. They deserve better, and when this temporary funding runs out in September, we in Congress must do better in securing permanent funding that meets their needs and does not allow the Trump administration to continue its cruelty.”
“His Senate bill is a militarization bill. McConnell killed the House Bill & dropped this one right before recess to force passage,” Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-N.Y.) said on Twitter. “Well, too bad. This is our job. Cancel vacation, fly the Senate in. Pass a clean humanitarian bill & stop trying to squeeze crises for more pain.”…
“The Senate bill includes $2.88 billion for the Office of Refugee Resettlement, which cares for unaccompanied children, as well as hundreds of millions of dollars more for Customs and Border Protection, the Pentagon and other agencies.
“But some House Democrats said it gives the administration too much latitude to spend money in ways they oppose, and does not do enough to ensure protections for migrants in U.S. care.”