After visiting the southern border, Sen. Sherrod Brown (D-OH) introduced sweeping legislation that would impose a number of new regulations on Customs and Border Protection (CBP) detention centers.
“We cannot accept children being deprived of basic necessities and living in squalor. We need real, enforceable standards for these centers—on nutrition, water, sanitation, shelter, emergency care and creating humane conditions for people to live,” Brown said in a press release.
His bill, cosponsored by Sens. Tom Udall (D-NM) and Martin Heinrich (D-NM), would require CBP to “conduct a health screening by a medical professional for each person in its care,” while mandating that CBP provide “access to basic medication, emergency transportation, and interpreters.”
The bill also directs CBP to “provide individuals in its care with the medically appropriate number of calories for age and weight to height ratio, including accommodations for any dietary needs or restrictions.”
Brown’s office said the legislation would improve shelter standards by requiring “compliance with maximum occupancy levels, specified temperature ranges, and appropriate bedding.”
“During my visit to the border I saw the inhumanity and coldness of President Trump’s family separation policy,” said Brown. “We need a bipartisan effort to fix our broken immigration system—one that recognizes that we can secure our border and create a pathway to citizenship for people fleeing violence and persecution and seeking a better life for their families. Tearing children from their parents and locking them in cages goes against this country’s values.”
Rep. Raul Ruiz (D-CA-36) is carrying the bill in the House, where it was recently approved by the House Judiciary Committee and sent to the full House for consideration.
“We must take action to end the inhumane treatment of families, prevent more children from dying at the border, and meet the basic humanitarian needs of the families under CBP’s custody and responsibility,” Ruiz said. “I look forward to continuing our work together to send this bill to the president’s desk and develop a professional, humane response to the humanitarian challenges at the border.”
A number of organizations have endorsed the bill, including the American Medical Association, the American Public Health Association, Catholic Charities of California, the United Church of Christ, and many more.
Brown discussed his recent visit to the southern border during a speech on the Senate floor last week.
“In fact, the leader of our country is almost gleeful and bragging about this family separation policy,” Brown said during his remarks, and went on to quote the Bible.
“I’ve read both of those translations, but you know what translation I’ve never read? When I was hungry, you fed me. When I was thirsty, you gave me drink. When I was in prison, you visited me. When I was a stranger you welcomed me, but only if I had the proper paperwork. That’s not in Matthew 25,” Brown said.
His full speech can be watched below:
We know that the way we solve our complex immigration problems isn’t by locking up families and children in cages.
We can’t abandon our values — the same values that have made the US a beacon of hope around the world for generations. https://t.co/UREMGKktgz
— Sherrod Brown (@SenSherrodBrown) July 17, 2019
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