“Children must come first…” the message from House Democrats on humanitarian disaster in the Southern U.S.
After an intense week of back-and-forth between the GOP controlled Senate and the Democratic House, a bill is headed to the Oval Office that will send billions of dollars to the southern border in attempt to put a stop to the growing humanitarian crisis for those seeking asylum in the U.S.
Heart-wrenching stories and photographs paint a picture of despair, desolation, and desperation at our countries most southern border to Mexico with tens of thousands of migrants scramble to reach the U.S. in search of a better life. Concentration camp like detention centers are overrun and grossly understaffed to deal with the shear amount of people coming in wanting nothing more but to join the American dream. Some going as far as staying illegally when the process to legal citizenship fails them. All of this in the midst of ugly heated debates on immigration reform and with constant threat of forceful deportation by law enforcement.
Children being separated from their parents with no real guarantee of being reunited as a family, being corralled into overpopulated detention centers with barely enough resources, if any, for basic health and hygiene. While these children, often times forced to take care of one another, struggle to make due politicians on the hill argue over what is or what is not important in dealing with what could be the largest humanitarian crisis we’ve face since Hurricane Katrina in New Orleans.
The Senate agreed a week ago on the bipartisan measure that provides $4.6 billion to help replenish facilities housing immigrants at the southern U.S. border as well as money for Immigrations and Customs Enforcement (ICE) officers. The reluctant house voted in favor of this bill instead holding out for more stringent restrictions due to in large part of the mortifying stories of people migrating to the U.S., one in particular, a tragic story of a father and his 23-month-old daughter who drowned in the Rio Grande river in Mexico.
Pelosi announced her decision to take up the Senate’s version of the funding bill hours after an hour-long phone call with Vice President Mike Pence, appealing to his religious values, and agreed that lawmakers would be notified within 24 hours after the death of a child in custody and to a 90-day time limit on children spending time in an influx facility.
This also on the heels of a heated debate on the hill regarding the condition of children stripped away from their parents left without the basic necessities such as a bed, toothbrush and even food.
“The children come first. At the end of the day, we have to make sure that the resources needed to protect the children are available,” Nancy Pelosi wrote in a letter to her fellow House Democrats.
“In order to get resources to the children fastest, we will reluctantly pass the Senate bill. As we pass the Senate bill, we will do so with a Battle Cry as to how we go forward to protect children in a way that truly honors their dignity and worth.”-House Speaker, Nancy Pelosi
President Donald Trump has since praised congress for signing the agreement and has stated that the next bridge to cross would be addressing asylum issues.