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Henry Cuellar Speaks on House Floor in Support of the Emergency Supplemental Bill to Provide Humanitarian Assistance at the Border

Congressman urges the Senate and the President to move the bill forward

 

Washington, D.C.—Congressman Henry Cuellar (TX-28), vice chair of the Homeland Security Subcommittee on Appropriations, spoke on the House Floor in favor of the FY19 Border Emergency Supplemental Appropriations that will provide the necessary resources and care of migrant families and children at the border.

Congressman Cuellar’s remarks are transcribed below:

Acknowledgements

  • Thank you, Madam Speaker. And thank you to Chairwoman Lowey for yielding to me and for bringing this bill to the floor.

Opening Remarks

  • H.R. 3401, the FY19 Border Emergency Supplemental Appropriations is a critical step to meeting the urgent needs of migrant families and children at the border that we must support.
  • I live on the border. I do not just visit the border.
  • I have been to CBP processing facilities.  I have been to the non-profit shelters for immigrant children.
  •  I speak with the brave and compassionate men and women responsible for managing this humanitarian crisis.
  • This men and women are my neighbors and my neighbors. We have your back.
  • They express to me the urgency of needed funding to enable them to protect the life and safety of migrants in their custody.
  • The humanitarian crisis has also placed an enormous strain on communities who have been forced to provide humanitarian relief to migrants released from DHS custody.
  • These are border communities like Laredo and McAllen, TX, interior communities like San Antonio, TX, and others.
  • We must address the humanitarian crisis by focusing our efforts on supporting the federal departments tasked with humanitarian response and our communities who have been forced provide a humanitarian response.
  • I have worked hard to secure provisions in this bill for humanitarian reimbursements, an integrated processing center, and expedited technology procurement authority.
  • We do still need additional immigration judges and court space at the border.

Humanitarian Reimbursements

  • This bill includes $60 Million for direct reimbursements for local governments and non-governmental organizations (NGOs) in Texas, New Mexico, Arizona, and California.
  • These are the actual frontline entities, which have incurred massive costs for providing humanitarian relief to the many migrants seeking asylum at the border.
  • The funding will be distributed through a Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) board.
  • This is required within 30 days of the passage of this bill.
  • This will directly reimburse local governments and NGOs for expenses related to their care for unaccompanied children and immigrant adults accompanied by a minor, at the border.
  • These entities are providing humanitarian relief to the thousands of migrants being dropped off by U.S. Customs and Border Patrol and Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) at shelters, churches, and bus stations.
  • The incredibly high volume of migrants being released from federal custody who require lodging, meals, and medical assistance are overwhelming local support resources at the border.
  • Expenses incurred by border communities include food, water, hygiene products, medicine, medical supplies, temporary housing, and transportation.
  • Providing these deserved reimbursements will ensure that the proper entities are compensated and incentivized to continue their critical humanitarian work.

Integrated Processing Center

  • Additionally, this bill includes $200 Million for a Multi-Agency, Integrated, Migrant Processing Center.
  • This will further ensure proper and improved humanitarian care for unaccompanied alien children and migrant families and at the southwest border.
  • Due to limited bed space at the 168 facilities and programs Health and Human Services operates, over 2,000 unaccompanied children are currently in CBP custody waiting for days in border stations that are not designed to care for children.
  • Migrant families and children who arrive at the southwest border will be processed quicker, resulting briefer periods of detainment, and ensuring proper assessments of child welfare and health needs are conducted immediately.

Expedited Technology Procurements

  •  This bill includes a technology procurement provision that restores the DHS Secretary’s authority to accelerate the efficient acquisition of border security technologies.
  • This is critical to securing our borders, while still properly addressing the humanitarian needs of the influx of immigrant families and children.

Closing Remarks

  • I urge my colleagues in the House to pass this supplemental measure.
  • This legislation
    • Provides the care and services needed to protect the health, safety, and welfare of all migrants, and
    • Reimburses communities for humanitarian assistance,
  • Thank you, Madam Speaker. I yield back the balance of my time.

 

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