U.S. House passes $4.5 billion border aid bill

Credit: Reuters Studio
Published on June 26, 2019 - Duration: 02:15s

U.S. House passes $4.5 billion border aid bill

The U.S. House of Representatives has approved a $4.5 billion aid package to address the migrant surge along the U.S.-Mexico border, including new standards for migrants in custody after reports of young children facing squalid conditions in overcrowded shelters.

Ryan Brooks reports.

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U.S. House passes $4.5 billion border aid bill

U.S. House Democrats approved a four-and-a-half billion dollar aid package on Tuesday (June 25) for the migrant surge along the southern border with Mexico.

The vote came on the heels of outrage over a Texas border facility where more than 300 children were held for weeks in dirty and overcrowded conditions.

(SOUNDBITE) (English) U.S. SPEAKER OF THE HOUSE NANCY PELOSI, SAYING: "This situation is child abuse.

It is an atrocity that violates every value that we have, not only as Americans, but as moral beings." The bill would make government agencies develop procedures and standards of care at temporary shelters and also would place limits on how long unaccompanied migrant children can stay in those facilities.

The Republican minority leader called the bill a partisan move by Democrats.

(SOUNDBITE) (English) HOUSE MINORITY LEADER KEVIN MCCARTHY SAYING: "Now after weeks of doing nothing, and denying that a crisis exists, they are offering legislation that is misguided, and is purely political.

They are once again, taking what should be a bipartisan issue, and inserting partisan poison pills." And as House Democrats voted on the bill news broke the acting head of the Customs and Border Protection was stepping down.

John Sanders had been in the post just two months.

The migrant surge has overwhelmed U.S. border facilities.

And in recent weeks the agency's faced severe criticism over the Texas border patrol station.

Elora Mukherjee was among lawyers that visited the site.

She described kids wearing dirty clothes and older children caring for younger ones.

(SOUNDBITE) (English) ELORA MUKHERJEE, PROFESSOR OF LAW AND DIRECTOR OF THE IMMIGRANTS' RIGHTS CLINIC AT COLUMBIA LAW SCHOOL, SAYING: "I've been doing work with immigrant children and families in detention for more than 12 years now and I have never seen conditions as degrading and inhumane as what we saw in Clint.

The children there were hungry, dirty, sick, scared and all of them who I interviewed had been detained for longer than the 72 hour limit that the law requires." Initially the agency said that all the kids would be transferred to other facilities but on Tuesday officials told reporters they're short on space, so 100 of the children were moved back to the same station.

And the House bill's fate is far from certain.

U.S. President Donald Trump has threatened a veto over its border enforcement limits, and the Senate, led by Republicans, is working on its own version of the bill.

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