Scott Statement on House Leadership's Failure to Adequately Address Humanitarian Crisis at the Southwest Border

August 1, 2014
Press Release

WASHINGTON, D.C. – Congressman Robert C. "Bobby" Scott (VA-03) issued the following statement on his opposition to H.R. 5230, the Supplemental Appropriations Related to the Humanitarian Crisis at the Southwest Border, and H.R. 5272, the No New DREAMers Act:

"Tonight, after hours of delay, the House will vote on two bills that do nothing to address the humanitarian crisis at the Southwest border.  Tens of thousands of children are fleeing Honduras, El Salvador, and Guatemala because of the extreme violence in these countries.  The influx of these refugees is not a problem unique to the United States.  Asylum applications from children from these countries are up a staggering 712 percent in neighboring Mexico, Panama, Nicaragua, Costa Rica, and Belize.  Sadly, the leadership of the House of Representatives has refused to work with Democrats and the President to responsibly and humanely address this regional problem.

"At $734 million, the emergency supplemental appropriations bill falls far short of the Obama Administration's request of $3.7 billion and includes provisions that would do more harm than good to the refugee children at the border. Specifically, the bill would expand the inhumane practice of family detention and would severely limit the due process protections for Central American children under the Trafficking Victims Protection Reauthorization Act of 2008.  The bill also does not provide sufficient additional resources to reduce the backlog at our nation's immigration courts.  Additional and sufficient funding is critical to ensure that these refugee children receive a full and fair adjudication of their cases.

"The House will also vote on another bill that would end the Obama Administration's Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program.  This program allows certain undocumented individuals, who came into the United States as children and meet several criteria, to request consideration for deferred removal action for a period of two years, subject to renewal.  Moreover, DACA allows U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services to target their limited resources at removing the most dangerous undocumented immigrants. Ending the DACA program would do nothing to help solve this current regional crisis and it would negatively impact many individuals who have spent their entire lives in the United States and may be eligible to benefit from the program.

"Neither of these bills will help solve the humanitarian crisis at our border and throughout Central America.  I urge the Speaker to work with Democrats in the House and the Senate on a bipartisan emergency supplemental appropriations bill that we can pass and send to the President.  More importantly, if we truly want to fix our broken immigration system, the Speaker must allow a vote on the Senate-passed version of Comprehensive Immigration Reform, which will secure the border, protect American workers, unite families, create jobs and reduce our nation's budget deficit by nearly $1 trillion over the next two decades.  It has been over a year since more than two-thirds of the United States Senate passed this bipartisan legislation, and it is long overdue for an up or down vote in the House of Representatives."

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