Press Releases

House Passes Emergency Humanitarian Supplemental

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Washington, June 25, 2019 | Ben Soskin ((202) 225-1766) | comments
The House today passed legislation to provide urgently needed humanitarian assistance for migrants at the southern border.

The legislation, H.R. 3401, provides $4.5 billion in emergency spending to address the humanitarian crisis at the border, with significant funding for priorities including legal assistance, food, water, and medical services, support services and stronger protections for unaccompanied children, and alternatives to detention.

“Tens of thousands of migrants at the border – many of them children – are in dire need. And with agencies stretched beyond capacity and nearly out of money, they can’t afford for Congress or the administration to play games with humanitarian assistance,” said House Appropriations Committee Chairwoman Nita Lowey. “That’s why this bill is so important. It would provide necessary funds for urgent humanitarian needs including food, diapers, and blankets. It would provide stringent safeguards to ensure funds are used only for humanitarian needs and nothing else. And it would protect the human rights and dignity of migrants, including by strengthening protections and standards of care for unaccompanied children. I urge the Senate and the President to quickly move this bill forward. We must enact relief without delay.” 

“We need robust funding to address the crisis at the border and provide the care and services needed to protect the health, safety, and welfare of all migrants. This supplemental achieves that. Doing nothing will only allow the Trump Administration to make a bad situation worse,” said House Appropriations Subcommittee on Commerce, Justice, Science, and Related Agencies Chair José E. Serrano.

“I applaud the House for passing our crucial bill to protect migrant children and families at our southern border,” said House Appropriations Subcommittee on Homeland Security Chairwoman Lucille Roybal-Allard. “As a mother and grandmother, I am heartbroken by the suffering these children and families are facing in the Trump Administration’s custody.  Our comprehensive and balanced supplemental addresses humanitarian needs including food, shelter, medical care, and legal assistance; it also compels the Trump Administration to treat migrants with dignity and care, and limits the administration’s ability to grossly misuse these funds for anti-immigrant policies.”

“I am proud the House acted today to address the ongoing humanitarian crisis at the border and increase protections for unaccompanied children to help place them safely and expeditiously into a sponsor’s care,” said House Appropriations Subcommittee on Labor, Health and Human Services, Education, and Related Agencies Chairwoman Rosa DeLauro. “Congress has a moral responsibility to care for these kids, which is why this funding bill ends the practice of using HHS as an immigration enforcement agency, provides funding for additional field specialists and case management services to expedite safe placements, and requires HHS to allow Members of Congress oversight visits to facilities holding unaccompanied children without preconditions, and much more. These are common-sense measures to protect vulnerable children that are temporarily in HHS’s care, and I urge the Senate to act on this bill immediately.”

The border aid supplemental includes:

• $934.5 million for processing facilities, food, water, sanitary items, blankets, medical services, and safe transportation;
• $866 million to reduce reliance on influx shelters to house children;
• $200 million for an integrated, multi-agency processing center pilot program for families and unaccompanied children, with participation by non-profit organizations;
• $100 million for legal services for unaccompanied children, child advocates, and post-release services;
• $60 million to assist jurisdictions experiencing a significant influx of migrants and non-profit organizations serving those communities;
• $17 million for Legal Access Programs, including $2 million for continued operation of the Immigration Court Helpdesk Program; and
• $9 million to speed up placement of children with sponsors and manage their cases.

In addition, the supplemental forces the Trump administration to spend funds previously appropriated to the Northern Triangle countries to promote stability. 
Additionally, the supplemental contains important oversight provisions to hold the administration accountable and to protect the rights and dignity of migrants. It provides no funding for a border wall or barriers, or for Immigration and Customs Enforcement detention beds, and explicitly prohibits the use of funds for any purpose not specifically described in the bill. It also:  

• Imposes stronger requirements for care of unaccompanied children, including standards for medical care and medical emergencies; nutrition, hygiene, and facilities; and personnel training;
• Places strict conditions on influx shelters to house children by mandating compliance with requirements set forth in the Flores settlement;
• Requires the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) to submit a plan for ensuring access to appropriate translation services for all individuals encountered by the agency; 
• Sets a limit of 90 days for the period of time an unaccompanied child can spend at an influx shelter; 
• Protects sponsors and potential sponsors from DHS immigration enforcement based on information collected by HHS during the sponsor vetting process; and
• Strengthens reporting and transparency requirements so that Congress can better carry out its oversight responsibilities.

The text of the bill, as introduced, is here. The Manager’s amendment to the bill is here. A division-by-division summary is here. A comparison of the House and Senate emergency humanitarian supplementals is here.

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