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Reps. Doggett, Vargas, Lofgren: Children at the Border Need Legal Protection

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Reps. Lloyd Doggett (TX), Juan Vargas (CA), and Zoe Lofgren (CA), all Democrats, took to the House floor this morning for a series of speeches about the children’s crisis at the border and how legal protections for them should not be rolled back.  Republicans have now spent weeks arguing that the children should be sent back immediately — but as others have pointed out, the US has a responsibility for the children if sending them back would mean their deaths.

Watch the video of the House Democrats speaking today:

From Rep. Doggett:

Even as the House has unanimously approved seven different bills to fight the scourge of sex trafficking, the choir to strip rights from some children persist. Indeed, at the very same time that our Republican colleagues were speaking here on the floor about doing whatever it takes to protect vulnerable children, they were demanding that immigrant children be sent back immediately. Support for exploited children, which existed across this aisle, must extend to children who were born on both sides of the border. Sadly, fear and hysteria are creating a steady drumbeat to remove legal protections against trafficking for children who are simply seeking refuge here. Exploited children cannot be politically exploited. We cannot accept every one of them. We’re not asking for amnesty. But how about a little human decency? A little humanity? How about following existing law and supplying the resources to see that it is effectively implemented?

Rep. Vargas, quoting the Rabbi Asher Knight of Dallas:

“The question for us is, how do we want to be remembered? As yelling and screaming for kids to go back? Or as using the teachings of our traditions to have compassion and love and grace for the lives of God’s children?”

And Rep. Zoe Lofgren:

In this country we’ve reached a consensus that victims of human trafficking should be provided help. Now there is a discussion of truncating that protection, and we must say that would be wrong. We know that for child victims, special care must be taken to elicit the facts of what has happened. The idea that we would short-circuit that process for human trafficking victims on our border is unconscionable.