Congress to Address Humanitarian Crisis at Southern Border

Posted by on Jul 2, 2019 in United States

Over the past year, seven children have died while being held in U.S. custody at immigrant detention centers on our southern border. These are children whose parents have been detained while trying to cross illegally into the United States. Many of the children are kept in facilities that are cramped and overcrowded. Reporters have stated that the hasty camps have poor sanitation, where diseases and lice spread rapidly.

Last week, it was revealed that nearly 300 migrant children had been held at a Border Patrol station in West Texas without adequate food, water, or sanitation. The situation is considered by many to be a humanitarian crisis. Democrats have long spoken out against the Trump administration’s tightening immigration policies, especially the practice of separating migrant children from their parents at the border. But now, they have decided to try to do something about it. Here, btw takes a closer look at the situation.

Related Link To read more about the conditions in the border camps, click here to read a news report from National Public Radio.

One Problem, Two Solutions?

Last week, House Democrats passed an emergency $4.5 billion package to provide aid to immigrants who have been detained at the border. Of this amount, more than $1 billion was allotted to house and feed migrants, while almost $3 billion was earmarked to care for immigrant children who have been separated from their parents. The bill also contains provisions for basic hygiene and medical standards for the detained children, as well as imposing a 90-day limit for keeping children in temporary shelters.

The bill will now move to the Senate for a vote. But the Republican-controlled Senate is unlikely to pass the bill, and even if it does, Trump has already said that he will veto it. The Senate Republicans have their own emergency aid plan. Their $4.6 billion package will allot $2.88 billion for the Department of Health and Human Services to use to address children who have been separated from their parents, with another $50 million designated to border immigration courts to speed up the processing of migrants. The Senate is expected to vote on this version of the bill this week.

Border Official Resigns

In the meantime, John Sanders, the acting commissioner of U.S. Customs and Border Protection, resigned his position. This announcement comes on the heels of the discovery of the 300 children who were kept in squalid conditions in a remote West Texas Border Patrol station. (Though the children were supposed to be transferred to other locations, 100 were moved back to the same station again because there was nowhere else to send them–despite the fact that conditions at the station hadn’t improved.)

What Do You Think? Which do you think would do a better job of addressing the humanitarian crisis at the U.S. southern border: the plan put forward by House Democrats, or the one from Senate Republicans? Why?