I'm excited to share some highlights of my recent work in Congress and our communities! I hope you find them informative. And if you haven't followed me yet on Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, and YouTube, be sure to do so today. See the online version of this newsletter here.
|Working to Keep Families Together:
Visiting East LA's Nuevo Amanecer Latino Children’s Services, which serves immigrant children separated from their families by the Trump Administration's cruel immigration policies. I'm joined by Congresswomen Grace Napolitano (left) and Judy Chu (right).
Like you, I've been horrified by the Trump administration's separation of immigrant children from their parents at our border. Tearing apart these families inflicts trauma on the children that is nothing short of child abuse. And contrary to President Trump's lies, there was no law requiring him to separate these families. It was his decision and his alone. When he came to the U.S. Capitol, I joined with Congressional Hispanic Caucus colleagues to confront him, to his face, about his inhumane family separation policy.
I've visited facilities in East LA and at America's southern border to see firsthand how these immigrant children and families are being treated. I've heard from children who said Homeland Security officials had told them their parents had abandoned them. Immigrant moms described the heartbreak and terror of being separated from their kids without warning and without any knowledge of where their kids were, or whether they'd ever be reunited. Some moms were told they'd never see their kids again. At one facility, I watched the emotional reunions of families who had been torn apart by our government. To see those separated parents and children finally reunited was a crushing reminder that they NEVER should have been separated in the first place.
As ranking Democrat on the Homeland Security Appropriations Subcommittee, I am committed to fighting Donald Trump's zero-humanity immigration policies with every resource at my disposal. I won a recent victory when the Appropriations Committee approved my bipartisan amendment adding $7 million to fund the Family Case Management Pilot Program, a highly successful – and far cheaper – alternative to detention. The amendment also adds much-needed funding for mental health care for children and families at Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) and Customs and Border Protection (CBP) facilities.
In addition, as co-chair of the Women's Working Group on Immigration Reform, I've co-hosted forums on Capitol Hill where my House Democratic colleagues and I have spoken with experts about the trauma children face when separated from their parents, how we can help these children, and how we can work to reunite their families. (You can see the videos of those forums here and here.)
I will keep working to make sure these children are well cared for, I will keep advocating for their swift reunion with their families, and I will keep speaking out for a humane immigration system that keeps families together and ends family detention.
Celebrating Our Businesses and Our Communities:
Cutting the ribbon at the grand opening of Downey's Barriles RestoBar.
I joined in the grand opening of the Barriles RestoBar in Downey. Cutting the ribbon was a lot of fun, and getting to try the food was even better! Congratulations to owners Mario Trujillo and Fernando Vasquez on a successful opening.
In Bell Gardens, I helped honor retiring Police Chief Robert E. Barnes and celebrated his impressive 30-year career in law enforcement, including his eight years as Chief. I presented him with a Certificate of Congressional Recognition saluting his outstanding dedication to ensuring the safety of the Bell Gardens community.
Supporting Affordable Housing:
LA County is facing a housing affordability crisis. That is why I was so excited to help announce that the Federal Home Loan Bank San Francisco awarded a $1.2 million Affordable Housing Program grant to bring 50 new units of permanent supportive housing to our 40th Congressional District, at Residences on Main in South LA. This new housing will help families and chronically homeless transition-aged youth move out of homelessness and build independent, healthy lives.
Fighting for the Just and Humane Treatment of Immigrants and Refugees:
Leading the Democratic side at the markup of the Homeland Security Appropriations Bill.
As ranking Democrat on the Homeland Security (DHS) Appropriations Subcommittee, I spoke out against the Republicans' DHS Appropriations bill. Its $5 billion in border wall funding was unjustifiable and outweighed the good aspects of the bill – there were many more urgent priorities we should have funded. I also opposed its support of the Trump Administration's vast expansion of immigration enforcement activities in the U.S. interior. Those ill-advised interior enforcement efforts will take our government's focus away from truly dangerous criminals, and will instill panic and confusion in communities across America, including in our 40th Congressional District. Please know I will keep working to secure a sensible DHS Appropriations bill as this year's appropriations process continues.
I have been outraged by reports that multiple pregnant women in ICE and CBP custody were shackled and denied appropriate medical care. No pregnant woman should be detained in a facility that lacks adequate medical care, or where conditions may endanger her unborn child. That is why I have written a letter with Rep. Pramila Jayapal asking DHS Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen for details about the pregnant women held by ICE and CBP. I also supported Rep. Barbara Lee's amendment to stop ICE from detaining pregnant women except in extraordinary circumstances. Unfortunately, her amendment was defeated by the Appropriations Committee majority.
Rep. Jayapal and I have also written a letter to FBI Director Chris Wray urging a thorough, transparent, and just FBI investigation of the Border Patrol’s killing of Guatemalan immigrant Claudia Patricia Gómez González. The FBI has sent us a letter replying that the three Guatemalan witnesses to the shooting are in detention and are connected with the Guatemalan Consulate. As the investigation of Ms. Gómez’s tragic death continues to unfold, I will keep pressing for this case to be handled fairly and openly.
Republicans opposed my effort in the Labor-HHS-Education Appropriations markup to stop the Office of Refugee Resettlement from sharing info with DHS that would let them start deportation proceedings against sponsors of unaccompanied kids. The government simply should not take actions that hurt the children in its care and delay their reunification with their families.
I discussed immigration policy with a group from the National TPS Alliance, including children of Temporary Protected Status (TPS) holders, as well as members of the Central American Resource Center (CARECEN-LA). Terminating TPS puts people in harm’s way, and is a recipe for ensuring that the flow of asylum seekers to the U.S. only increases. Recently, I supported an Appropriations Committee amendment from Rep. Nita Lowey to ensure that America's TPS holders can stay here, work here, and keep strengthening our country. Unfortunately, the committee Republicans opposed this amendment.
Promoting Good Health for All Americans:
Given the reports that the National Institutes of Health (NIH) has accepted money from the alcohol industry, I'm very pleased that NIH is shutting down its contentious study on the benefits of alcohol use. I've been urging NIH to explain these reports, including in my questioning of the NIH director earlier this year. Shutting down this study is a crucial step in protecting the integrity of NIH's health research process.
I introduced amendments to the Labor-HHS-Education Appropriations bill to increase funding for Advanced Education Nursing grants (which help nurses get training in advanced practices and lead to patients getting better health care access at a lower cost) and to restore funds for the Health Careers Opportunity Program (which will help minority and disadvantaged youth pursue careers as health professionals and help improve U.S. public health). Labor-HHS-Education Appropriations Chairman Tom Cole has committed to working with me to secure these funds.
Supporting Our Students and Our Schools:
With new CA-40 West Point appointees Reynaldo Gonzalez-Romero (second from left) and Justin Vargas (second from right). Reynaldo’s mother Bertha Romero is at left and Justin’s mother Laura Perez is at right.
Congratulations to new West Point appointees Reynaldo Gonzalez-Romero of Paramount and Justin Vargas of Bell! As their congresswoman, I was honored to nominate these two St. John Bosco High School alums to help represent our 40th Congressional District at our nation’s Military Academy. I welcomed them and their mothers to my District Office, where I presented these remarkable young men with Certificates of Special Congressional Recognition.
If you will be a high school senior in the 2018-19 school year and are interested in attending one of our nation's service academies, you can follow in Reynaldo and Justin's footsteps and apply for a nomination from me. You must be a U.S. citizen and live in California’s 40th Congressional District. Click here for more information. And I'm pleased to announce that my 2018 U.S. Service Academies Workshop will be held on September 22, 2018, at Downey City Hall, from 9:00-10:30 AM. Read more about this upcoming workshop here.
It was great to greet Paramount's Noah Endo, the 2018 Lucille Roybal-Allard Student Art Competition winner, at the U.S. Capitol! His winning artwork, a piece in color pencil, marker, and pen titled "A Growing Threat," is on exhibit at the Capitol for a year alongside student art from across America. I'm so glad that Noah and his mother, Isela Preciado, could be in Washington, DC for the art exhibit's opening.
Student loan debt is a full-blown crisis – and as the cost of college rises, Pell Grants’ purchasing power goes down. I offered an amendment to the Labor-HHS-Education Appropriations bill to increase the maximum Pell Grant to match inflation and help Americans make ends meet. Sadly, the GOP majority opposed my amendment.
In my speech at Montebello Unified School District’s first Educational Equality Conference, I highlighted my fight to support our LGBTQ and immigrant communities, and assured the audience that I will keep opposing policies that demean and hurt our families. I was honored to be recognized at the conference for my advocacy, and my conversations with the conference’s youth and parents left me energized. It is great to see so many members of our communities coming to conferences like this one to obtain educational resources and support.
I helped recognize parent leaders at Maywood Academy High School during an Appreciation Event in their honor. These parents have been actively engaged in the school’s Parent Center, and have participated in school committees such as the School Site Council and the PTA. The parents’ dedication and exceptional service shows how committed they are to helping their children receive a meaningful education. During my visit, I gratefully accepted a certificate of appreciation from the LA Unified School District (LAUSD) School Volunteer Program and from LAUSD Parent and Community Services.
On Capitol Hill, I welcomed a visit from some Downey education trailblazers: Leaders from Griffiths and Stauffer Middle Schools – which were being recognized in DC as National Forum Schools to Watch – and a Downey Unified School District delegation to cheer them on!
Standing Up for American Workers:
By a single vote, the Supreme Court has voted to weaken public sector unions by ending their collection of “fair share fees” for services they are legally required to provide to workers. That will undermine the ability of public service workers like teachers, police officers, and firefighters to negotiate for decent pay and fair workplaces. As your congresswoman, I'm fighting to strengthen our workers, and that means keeping our unions strong.
I am disgusted by the news of years-long sexual harassment at the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA). It is critical that FEMA continue its investigation, and that whistleblowers are protected. As the top Democrat on the Appropriations subcommittee that funds FEMA, I will do all I can to ensure this investigation is thorough and uncompromising, and I will fight for reforms that correct this toxic environment.
Preserving America's Security:
I was very disappointed the Appropriations Committee voted down my amendment that would provide the Coast Guard with $750 million for the polar icebreaker program, paid for by reducing the Homeland Security Appropriations bill’s unjustifiable border wall funding. Let’s be clear: Separating families at the border is NOT about national security, but funding for polar icebreakers IS! Right now, America has a total of two icebreakers, while Russia has 27 (and more under construction). We simply cannot afford to delay any longer.
Advocating for the Humane Treatment of Animals:
I’m working with colleagues from both parties on a new effort to save cats, dogs and monkeys that survive experiments in government labs. Scientists and animal welfare advocates agree that these animals deserve a second chance.
Announcements and Notices:
Intern in My Washington, DC Office:
STUDENTS: Are you interested in government, policy, and public service? Have you ever wondered what it’s like to work on Capitol Hill? My Washington, DC office is currently accepting internship applications for the fall of 2018. Visit my internship webpage to learn more, and follow me on Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, and YouTube!
Read My Student Resource Guide:
If you are a high school or college student looking for help to pay for college, I encourage you to read my Student Resource Guide, which includes information about scholarships, internships, fellowships, and websites to help you meet your college expenses. Please feel free to circulate it!
Rights Under the U.S. Constitution for Our Immigrant Families and Neighbors:
Read this information about immigrants’ rights under the law.
Derechos Bajo la Constitución de los Estados Unidos Para Nuestras Familias y Vecinos Inmigrantes:
Lea esta información sobre los derechos de los inmigrantes bajo la ley.
Blood Testing and Soil Sampling Near Exide:
If you live, work, or go to school within three miles of the Exide plant, I encourage you to get a FREE blood lead test. For details, visit bloodleadtesting.com or call (844) 888-2290. If you live within 1.7 miles of Exide, you can also sign up for soil testing. For more information, visit exidecleanup.org or call (844) 225-3887. Please also feel free to share this general information Exide flyer in English and in Spanish with any friends and family living in the affected area.
News on DACA Judicial Decisions:
Are you wondering what the latest judicial decisions on DACA mean for you and your family? Read this flyer for info. USCIS is continuing to accept DACA renewal requests. Any DACA recipient who can request renewal should do so immediately. Click here to find out how to file a renewal application. (USCIS is not accepting requests from individuals who have never before been granted deferred action under DACA.)
¿Se está preguntando qué significan las últimas decisiónes judiciales sobre DACA para usted y su familia? Lea esta folleto para la información. USCIS sigue aceptando solicitudes de renovación para DACA. Cualquier beneficiario de DACA que pueda solicitar una renovación debe hacerlo de inmediato. Haga clic aquí para informarse cómo presentar una solicitud de renovación. (USCIS no está aceptando aplicaciones de individuos que nunca antes se les ha otorgado una acción diferida bajo DACA.)
If You Visit Washington, DC:
If you are a resident of California's 40th District and planning a trip to Washington, DC, I can provide information on many of the area's distinguished landmarks. You can submit your tour requests here. Please contact my office with at least 8-12 weeks advance notice whenever possible.
Contacting You About the Issues That Matter to You:
If you live or work in the 40th Congressional District and you would like to specify the issues that particularly interest you, please fill out this form.
|Washington, DC Office
2083 Rayburn HOB
Washington, DC 20515
Phone: (202) 225-1766
Fax: (202) 226-0350
500 Citadel Drive, Suite 320
Commerce, CA 90040
Phone: (323) 721-8790
Fax: (323) 721-8789