Statement of Congressman Brian Higgins on House Passage of H.R. 3401, the Emergency Supplemental Appropriations for Humanitarian Assistance and Security at the Southern Border Act
“The distressing photos and accounts from within child detention facilities and at sites along the Rio Grande River and elsewhere at the border serve to underscore the wrong-headed and inhumane nature of this Administration’s policies toward asylum seekers and immigrants in general. This attitude is craven and goes against our values as a nation – something I called out this week at a House Budget Committee hearing.
“I voted in favor of the original House-passed version of this bill to address this crisis because it included sensible provisions to ensure that thousands of innocent children held in custody by our federal government are not mistreated. I could not, in good conscience, support today’s vote on the Senate-passed version of this bill because it fails to include those necessary statutory provisions, including:
- Strengthened requirements for Customs and Border Protection to ensure children being held receive proper medical care and nutrition;
- Establishment of a statutory limit of 90 days for children to be held in influx shelters and provisions enforcing contractor compliance on this provision;
- Increased resources to frontline not-for-profit organizations who intake children through the Emergency Food and Shelter Program and other means;
- A requirement that the Department of Health and Human Services notify Congress within 24 hours if an unaccompanied minor dies in custody; and
- Increased fiscal responsibility over spending at the border to prevent misuse of funds.
“As long as the Administration continues on this misguided policy path, the crisis will not abate. Congress must continue to hold the Administration to account on their actions and fight for comprehensive and compassionate legislative solutions to modernize our antiquated immigration laws.