On Thursday, the House of Representatives is slated to consider H.R. 2203 (the Homeland Security Improvement Act), a bill authored by Rep. Veronica Escobar of Texas to remedy many of the policies President Trump has put in place to address the surge in migrants from Central America at the U.S./Mexico border that have exacerbated – not relieved – the humanitarian crisis Trump helped create.
The legislation addresses a broad range of border and migration policies, specifically addressing metering, which prevents those seeking asylum at the border from entering at ports of entry. It addresses “remain in Mexico” (the cynically named “Migrant Protection Protocols”) that send people legally asking for asylum to dangerous communities in Northern Mexico to await adjudication hearings. The bill puts limits on the amount of time the government can hold migrants in overcrowded and unsafe detention facilities that were not designed to house families or children. In other words, it addresses the humanitarian crisis that President Trump’s responses to a surge in migrants from Central America have made exponentially worse.
America’s Voice recommends a “yes” vote in support of H.R. 2203 when it comes to the House floor on Thursday and recommends a “no” vote on any poison pills or motions to recommit.
According to Pili Tobar, Deputy Director of America’s Voice: “Cruelty, chaos, failure and floundering are the best words to describe Donald Trump’s approach to border and immigration issues. In contrast, this week, Democrats are putting forward affirmative measures to cope with the President’s failures and shortcomings. A bill on the floor today (H.R. 3239), will provide minimal standards of care for migrants in CBP custody. The bill on the floor tomorrow (H.R. 2203) will make sure our policies more fully align with our values as a nation, provide oversight and transparency, and that our existing immigration and asylum laws and international treaties and commitments are followed.
“Basic safeguards like body cameras for government officers, unannounced inspections and enhanced oversight for border and detention conditions and a 9-11 style citizens’ commission to address the state of the humanitarian crisis at the border are all sensible measures in the legislation to enhance transparency and oversight. Left to their own devices, the Trump administration has demonstrated its incompetence, matched only by the cruelty meted out to migrants seeking safety and due process.
“Rep. Escobar has emerged in just her first year in Congress as a thoughtful and pragmatic advocate for her Texas constituents and she has crafted a sensible set of reforms to address the cruelty, chaos, failure and floundering of the President’s approach to border and immigration issues. We recommend that House Democrats and Republicans vote for the measure, oppose any poison pill amendments of motions to recommit, and pass this important bill to restore some semblance of order, accountability and humanity to our border.”