The U.S. Congress is trying to rush $4.5 billion in emergency humanitarian aid to the southwestern border, while placing new restrictions on President Trump’s immigration crackdown, spurred on by disturbing images of suffering migrant families and of children living in squalor in overcrowded detention facilities.
The House bill goes further than a Senate legislation in placing restrictions on the money. Facilities that house unaccompanied children would have a slightly shorter time frame — 12 months instead of 14 months — to meet existing legal standards for healthy, sanitary and humane conditions; they would have to allow oversight visits from members of Congress without warning; and the Department of Health and Human Services would have to report a child’s death in its custody to Congress within 24 hours.
But some Democrats fear that the aid will be used to carry out Mr. Trump’s aggressive tactics, including massive deportation raids by ICE (Immigration and Customs Enforcement) that he has promised will begin within two weeks. “Democrats distrust this president because we have seen his cruel immigration policies and lawless behavior terrorize our constituents,” Representative Nita M. Lowey of New York, the chairwoman of the House Appropriations Committee, said on Monday evening “We cannot allow our anger at this president to blind us to the horrific conditions at facilities along the border as the agencies run out of money.”
The White House on Monday issued a statement threatening that Mr. Trump would veto the House measure.
The day before, Trump tweeted that he was suspending ICE raids on illegal immigrants for two weeks. A statement by four freshman representatives, Ms. Ocasio-Cortez, Ilhan Omar of Minnesota, Ayanna Pressley of Massachusetts and Rashida Tlaib of Michigan, said: “These radicalized, criminal agencies are destroying families and killing innocent children. It is absolutely unconscionable to even consider giving one more dollar to support this president’s deportation force that openly commits human rights abuses and refuses to be held accountable to the American people.”
[New York Times]