Rep. Johnson Votes to Pass Critical Border Legislation to Protect Children and Keep America Safe
June 27, 2019
WASHINGTON, D.C. – Today, Congressman Hank Johnson (GA-04) joined with his colleagues in voting to pass H.R. 3401, a $4.5 billion emergency border supplemental appropriations bill to address the urgent humanitarian situation at our Southern border. The bill provides significant funding for priorities to meet the needs of vulnerable children, including food, water, medical services, legal assistance, support services for unaccompanied children, alternatives to detention, and refugee services. The bill also contains important oversight provisions to hold the Administration accountable and to insist the Administration start to protect the rights of immigrants.
“The heartbreaking and grave humanitarian situation on our Southern border demands Congress’s immediate action,” said Rep. Johnson. “The Administration’s cruel immigration policies have exacerbated this situation, and threaten the health, well-being and sometimes, tragically, the lives of too many children. Families belong together, and we must do everything in our power to prevent the needless suffering of innocent children in our care. We will not let the Administration’s failed anti-immigrant agenda stop us from protecting vulnerable children and families and honoring our values as a nation of immigrants.”
This strong border legislation:
• Provides $4.5 billion in emergency spending to address the humanitarian situation at the border – strengthening health standards for children and families in CBP custody and securing robust funding for priorities including legal assistance, food, water, sanitary items, blankets and medical services, support services for unaccompanied children and refugees, which will relieve the horrific situation of over-crowding and help prevent additional deaths.
• Protects families and does not fund the Administration’s failed mass detention policy – funding effective, humane alternatives to detention with a proven track record of success, placing strict limits on influx shelters, protecting sponsors from DHS immigration enforcement based on information collected by HHS during the vetting process and requiring DHS to submit its plans to Congress to ensure strong congressional oversight, including to protect unaccompanied children.
• Helps address the roots causes of the crisis – reversing the Administration’s senseless decision to block the U.S. assistance that Congress has already appropriated for the Northern Triangle countries, and ensuring funding is used responsibly to improve border security, stop human smuggling and drug trafficking, combat corruption and reduce poverty and promote growth in Central America.
In addition, additional important provisions were added in a manager’s amendment, including provisions requiring Customs and Border Protection to establish plans, standards, and protocols to better ensure the health and safety of children and adults in custody, including standards for medical care and medical emergencies, nutrition, hygiene, facilities, and personnel training.
“Congress has a pressing moral responsibility to protect children and families, and defend the health, dignity and lives of those in need,” Rep. Johnson said. “It is an honor to join my colleagues to pass this critical, lifesaving legislation. The Senate must take this bill up immediately and fulfill our constitutional responsibility to end this tragic, unnecessary crisis at the border.”