Rep. Brenda Lawrence Votes to Pass Critical Border Legislation to Protect Children and Keep America Safe
Washington, DC – Today, Congresswoman Brenda Lawrence (MI-14), joined with her colleagues in voting to pass H.R. 3401 230 to 195. This measure is $4.5 billion emergency border supplemental appropriations bill to address the urgent humanitarian situation at our Southern border. The legislation provides significant funding for priorities to meet the needs of vulnerable children, including food, water, medical services, legal assistance and support services. It also contains important oversight provisions to hold the Administration accountable and to insist the Administration start to protect the rights of all immigrants.
“The heartbreaking and grave humanitarian situation on our Southern border demands Congress’s immediate action,” said Rep. Lawrence. “The Administration’s cruel immigration policies have exacerbated this situation, and threaten the health, well-being and sometimes, tragically, the lives of too many children. Families belong together, and we must do everything in our power to prevent the needless suffering of innocent children in our care.”
This strong border legislation:
- Provides $4.5 billion in emergency spending to address the humanitarian situation at the border – strengthens health standards for children and families in Customs and Border Protection custody and secures robust funding for priorities including legal assistance, food, water, sanitary items, blankets, medical services, and support services for unaccompanied children and refugees This will relieve the horrific situation of over-crowding and help prevent additional deaths.
- Protects families and does not fund the Administration’s failed mass detention policy – funding effective, humane alternatives to detention with a proven track record of success, placing strict limits on influx shelters, protecting sponsors from the Department of Homeland Security’s (DHS) immigration enforcement based on information collected by Health and Human Services during the vetting process and requires DHS to submit its plans to Congress and to ensure strong congressional oversight.
- Helps address the roots causes of the crisis – reverses the Administration’s senseless decision to block the U.S. assistance that Congress has already appropriated for the Northern Triangle countries; ensures funding is used responsibly to improve border security, stop human smuggling and drug trafficking, combat corruption, reduce poverty and promote growth in Central America.
In addition, important provisions were added in a manager’s amendment, including provisions requiring Customs and Border Protection to establish plans, standards, and protocols to better ensure the health and safety of immigrants in custody, including standards for medical care and medical emergencies, nutrition, hygiene, facilities, and personnel training.
“Congress has a pressing moral responsibility to protect children and families, and defend the health, dignity and lives of those in need,” continued Rep. Lawrence. The Senate must take this bill up immediately and fulfill our constitutional responsibility to end this tragic, unnecessary crisis at the border.”