Washington, DC – Today, Congresswoman Julia Brownley (D-Westlake Village) released the following statement on her vote to pass H.R. 3401, a $4.5 billion emergency border supplemental appropriations bill to address the urgent humanitarian situation at the southern border:
“As an American, I am appalled and horrified over what is occurring at the border. As a parent, I am heartbroken for these children in U.S. custody. We have a moral responsibility to ensure these children in detention are taken care of; however, we are failing them and failing to uphold our most basic humanitarian principles. That is why I joined my colleagues in passing a bill to address this urgent crisis at the U.S.-Mexico border.
“As if it was not enough to tear families apart and imprison those fleeing violence and persecution, the Trump Administration is failing to provide basic care for the children it has imprisoned. One report this week graphically described young children caring for infants, and children that haven’t bathed or brushed their teeth in weeks. Worse, children have been locked in cages without adequate food, water, toilets, beds, or blankets–this is immoral, plain and simple.
“And it gets worse. President Trump actually had the gall to suggest that he would continue to treat these families inhumanely, until Democrats bend to his will to pass legislation our constituents do not support. This is the definition of extortion, and to use children in this way, is outrageous.
“The President is purposefully making this situation worse by refusing to place these children with known family members while their cases are reviewed, and by cutting foreign assistance programs in Central America – a decision that is intended to make matters even worse.
“Let’s be clear, we passed asylum laws so that people fleeing persecution could seek asylum, because we determined, as a nation, that it was consistent with our values and our ideals. But the people fleeing from danger and violence are being treated worse than criminals. Since President Trump was sworn in, 24 people have died in ICE custody. This number does not include the other migrants, including five children, who have died in the custody of other federal agencies.
“We have all seen the harrowing photo and heard the heartbreaking story of Óscar Alberto Martínez Ramírez, who drown along with his 23-month-old daughter Valeria, attempting to be reunited with his wife. But, we shouldn’t need a graphic photo to know that what is happening at our southern border and on U.S. soil is inhumane and wrong.
“I do not say this lightly, but I don’t believe this could be called anything other than a crime against humanity for which President Trump, the members of his Administration, and those who are enabling the President, should be held accountable.”