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Wednesday December 11th, 2019 6:12AM

Collins: Democrat bill for border aid is 'a flimsy band-aid'

By AccessWDUN Staff
Coming up with an emergency border aid package now moves to the Republican-controlled Senate. Lawmakers in the Democratic-run House passed a $4.5 billion package Tuesday night to provide care for thousands of migrant families and unaccompanied children detained after crossing the U.S.-Mexico border, but Republican Congressman Doug Collins of Gainesville opposed the measure on the House floor, calling the legislation "a flimsy band-aid."
 
Collins,the ranking member of the House Judiciary Committee, called conditions at the southwest border a disaster, but said H.R. 3401 has too many restrictions to solve the problems facing immigrants at the border. [See the full content of Collins' statement below.]
 
Time for action is running short given that Congress plans a week long July 4 recess. 

TRANSCRIPT OF COLLINS' PREPARED COMMENTS
     
Mr. Speaker, I rise in opposition to H.R. 3401. 

Despite the best efforts of the men and women of the Department of Homeland Security, our southwest border is a disaster. 

Last month, CBP apprehended over 132,000 people, including over 84,000 family unit members, over 11,000 unaccompanied children and nearly 37,000 single adults.  

The sheer volume of people crossing the border illegally and the shortage of CBP and ICE facilities large enough to process and hold them is overwhelming and unprecedented. Even NGOs providing shelter and other aid to migrants are inundated by the endless surge of people who have learned America is rewarding those who break our laws and thereby endanger vulnerable men, women and children. We must provide relief. 

What does relief look like? One way is via appropriations, so DHS, DOJ and HHS can effectively carry out their duties. Sustainable relief means legislative solutions to close the statutory and court-mandated loopholes incentivizing people to make the dangerous journey to the United States border. 

A lasting solution would terminate the Flores settlement agreement, raise the credible fear standard and fix the Trafficking Victims Protection Act. If those are not part of the solution, today will mark the beginning of an endless cycle of supplemental appropriations to fund humanitarian care, but never resolve the humanitarian crisis.   

After months of claiming there is no border crisis, Democrats have finally admitted the situation demands action. Yet, instead of providing sensible funding and closing the loopholes, they offer a flimsy band-aid.

H.R. 3401 proves Democrats are not serious about fixing this crisis. The bill provides no funds for ICE detention, so migrants will remain in custody at short-term CBP facilities for even longer periods of time until ICE has room for them. Democrats know eventually CBP will have to start releasing all migrants into America’s interior in the same way they are currently releasing family units. H.R. 3401 is also the camel’s nose under the tent toward killing family detention altogether because of restrictions included in the bill.  
 
Democrats claim to want expeditious immigration court proceedings for the migrants coming to the U.S., yet refuse to fund attorneys who represent the government in immigration court proceedings. How can cases go forward if no one is representing the government?  

H.R. 3401 imposes so many conditions on the use of funds by the Office of Refugee Resettlement to care for children it will be unable to operate temporary-influx shelters as more and more unaccompanied alien children enter the U.S. The bill severely limits the use of such facilities unless they are licensed by the state, but these shelters comply with federal safety standards, have often been the only resource in emergency situations and have been used by administrations of both parties. 

Democrats claim to prioritize children’s safety, yet specifically prevent removal of a sponsor or adult household member even if the adult presents a danger to the child.  

H.R. 3401 is not a solution. Congress should solve the border crisis instead of sacrificing the rule of law, the security of our country and the safety of children who have fallen victim to this crisis.
 
The Associated Press contributed to this story.      
  • Associated Categories: Homepage, Local/State News, Politics
  • Associated Tags: Doug Collins, Congressman Doug Collins, immigration, border crisis, H.R. 3401
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