House passes emergency funding for migrant crisis
by Kyle Ziemnick
Posted 6/26/19, 12:30 pm
WASHINGTON—Democrats in the U.S. House of Representatives on Tuesday passed a $4.5 billion funding package for the migrant crisis on the U.S. southern border. Republicans criticized the bill for having a partisan bent because it gives $2.8 billion to the Department of Health and Human Services for “refugee and entrant assistance” and only $128 million to Immigration and Customs Enforcement. Though the bill gives Customs and Border Protection more than $1 billion for migrant care, none of the money is appropriated to more border security. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., said she wanted to make sure no money went to President Donald Trump’s “cruel immigration policies.”
The bill passed almost entirely along party lines and now goes to the Senate, which is about to consider its own bill, approved by the Senate Appropriations Committee on June 19 in a 30-1 vote. That bill reallocates some funding toward more judges for asylum cases and to the military for responding to the influx of illegal migrants.
Earlier Tuesday, acting Customs and Border Protection Commissioner John Sanders resigned in the wake of reports about migrant children’s poor living conditions in the agency’s custody. Sanders had pushed for more congressional funding for his organization, which he said is holding more than triple its capacity of detainees.
Another incentive for Congress to act on funding for the border came from a photo that went viral of a Salvadoran illegal migrant and his daughter who drowned in the Rio Grande on Monday. Oscar Alberto Martínez Ramírez and his nearly 2-year-old daughter, Valeria, were swept away near Matamoros, Mexico. Wife and mother Tania Ávalos witnessed the drowning while waiting on the Mexican side of the river.
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Kyle is a graduate of the World Journalism Institute.