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Today, House Republicans Expected to Vote Against Water, Food, Medical Screening and Toilets for Children in Immigration Custody

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H.R. 3239, the Humanitarian Standards for Individuals in CBP Custody Act Goes to House Floor Today

Later today, the House will debate and vote on H.R. 3239, the Humanitarian Standards for Individuals in CBP Custody Act, a bill that provides for basic humane standards of care for children, families and individuals in federal custody at for-profit and government-run immigration detention centers. If recent history is a guide, we expect most if not all Democrats in the House will vote for the bill and most if not all Republicans in the House will vote against providing minimal standards for food, water, sanitation, hygiene and health screenings for children and others in custody.

According to Pili Tobar, Deputy Director of America’s Voice:

We will see a stark contrast between Democrats who will vote to insist on minimal standards of care and Republicans who will be on the record against clean food, clean water, toilets, soap and toothbrushes for children in immigration custody. This will be a stain on the GOP and every Republican and any Democrats who prefer to side with this President’s political games than find it in their heart to care for children in crisis, for moms and dads fleeing violence and deprivation asking for asylum in the U.S., and for cots, bedding and fair treatment for human beings in federal custody. The moral collapse of the Republican Party cannot be overstated as they cast votes to deny children, families and individuals minimal assurances of human decency. Their obsession with cruelty for migrants legally asking for asylum and their zeal to give the President cover for his failures on immigration and border policies know no bounds.

This is not about special treatment or about luxury accommodations; it’s about setting minimal standards for the care of other human beings; about having health screenings for migrants in detention, especially after many deaths at these facilities; it’s about insisting on a floor beneath which our treatment of detainees will not sink and literally about insisting that they have cots so that they are not sleeping on a cold concrete floor.

Americans have never paid more attention to the care and treatment of migrants at the border than right now. We will note, publicize and denounce every Republican and Democrat who votes to deny people in immigration custody these basic standards of care and make sure their constituents know how they voted on this clear call to moral certainty.

The Humanitarian Standards for Individuals in Customs and Border Protection Custody Act (H.R. 3239) would:

  • Develop a health screenings protocol for intake of individuals and ensure that all facilities had the infrastructure to conduct such screenings so that illness and communicable diseases were caught and treated accordingly, including provisions for documentation, medical ethics, mental health screenings and oversight;
  • Set minimal standards for access to clean drinking water, sanitation and toilets, and hygiene  like handwashing, soap and toothpaste for detainees;
  • Set minimal standards for food and nutrition for detainees;
  • Set minimal standards for the housing/shelter of children and adults in detention like temperature, lighting, bedding, protection for LGBTQ individuals and other minimal standards;
  • Provisions for addressing staff training, preparation for surges in migration and the transfer of detainees to medical facilities, if necessary;
  • Provisions for oversight of contractors, inspections, and GAO oversight of detention conditions.