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July 09, 2019

Chairman Thompson to Introduce Legislation to Address Border Humanitarian Crisis

(WASHINGTON) – Today, Rep. Bennie G. Thompson (D-MS), Chairman of the Committee on Homeland Security, announced that he will be introducing legislation to address the humanitarian crisis at the border.  The Strategic and Humane Southern Border Migrant Response Act directs the Department of Homeland Security to take a smarter approach to addressing conditions for migrant families and unaccompanied children seeking asylum while combatting human smugglers and trafficking operations targeting Central American children and families.  

“The humanitarian crisis at the border must be addressed in a humane and strategic way,” said Chairman Thompson. “The Trump Administration’s policies have exacerbated the crisis while failing to reduce the number of migrants seeking asylum.  My legislation seeks to ensure that the practices employed at the border are effective and in line with our American values.  It will require timely and fair processing of asylees, standards for humanitarian care while in CBP custody, and compliance with the Flores settlement agreement.”

“The inhumane and unsafe conditions in which migrants are held for up to months at a time – which have led to the death of children in our care – are inexcusable and should shock the conscience of all Americans. This bill will protect families, use real alternatives to detention, and ensure migrants are properly cared for while in custody.  We must set aside the Trump Administration’s failed and cruel approach in favor of effective, coordinated action.  I urge my colleagues to support this necessary and timely legislation.”

The Strategic and Humane Southern Border Migrant Response Act will:

  • Require a strategic response plan to assure timely and fair processing of asylees, humanitarian care, and full compliance with Flores settlement.
  • Terminate the Remain in Mexico (or Migrant Protection Protocols - MPP) program and metering at land ports of entry.
  • Establish in law essential humane conditions for short-term detention and protect all family units at the border.
  • Transfer responsibility for feeding and caring from CBP to licensed and vetted contractors with medical and social work experience.
  • Increase use of alternatives to detention, including restoring the Family Case Management Program.
  • Authorize the hiring of additional CBP Officers to facilitate activity at ports of entry and additional CBP Office of Professional Responsibility investigators to combat misconduct within the workforce.
  • Require that the DHS Inspector General and Government Accountability Office audit and oversee facilities where children and families are detained on an ongoing basis and ensure Congressional oversight access to border facilities.
  • Restore refugee processing in the Northern Triangle and Mexico and restore the Central Americans Minor Program.

Legislation Fact Sheet

Legislation Text

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Adam Comis at (202) 225-9978