REPRESENTATIVE ADRIANO ESPAILLAT OFFERS DEMOCRATIC MOTION TO RECOMMIT
Washington, D.C. — Today, Rep. Adriano Espaillat (NY-13) offered the Democratic Motion to Recommit on the House Floor to reconsider H.R. 6136 – the Border Security and Immigration Reform Act and replace it with H.R. 6135 – the Keep Families Together Act in an effort to protect immigrant children from government sponsored abuse.
**Below are remarks by Rep. Espaillat as prepared for delivery today on the House Floor**
“Mr. Speaker, H.R. 6136 – the Border Security and Immigration Reform Act has been touted as ‘the compromise bill’. But don’t let that fool you – this bill cuts legal immigration by 40%. This bill cancels diversity green cards. This bill eliminates most family reunification. And finally, this bill hurts asylum seekers.
“This bill is anything but a compromise. It’s anything but fair, and it’s certainly not pro family.
“We’ve spent the last days and weeks watching babies ripped away from their parents.
We heard their CRIES in the middle of the night as they missed their parents. Thousands of children have been separated from their parents and the American people were truly moved by this humanitarian crisis.
“This crisis drew the attention of international institutions and organizations, such as the United Nations, Amnesty International, Human Rights Watch, and the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops – all of which condemn the separation of children from their families.
“This nation has a long-standing tradition of providing asylum to those fleeing death, terrors, and natural disasters.
“We need to continue being a beacon of hope, of aspiration, for the rest of the world.
“Asylum seekers – including women who have been raped - deserve due process. Not these massive arraignment hearings, which blatantly go against our democratic traditions.
“Let’s be honest here, last week’s executive order, and this morning’s tweet where the President admits that this bill is about “strong borders” tells us that it’s not OUR families or justice that he cares about. This is about him getting his $25 billion wall and another $7 billion to hold families in detention facilities – it holds families in jails or tent cities and maybe even in military camps; similar to the Japanese internment camps during World War II.
“Children belong in schools – they deserve to be safe – with their parents – not to be jailed in cages that look like kennels.
“The world is watching and some of my colleagues on the other side of the aisle could care less as babies are torn away from their mothers.
“Babies as young as 9 months old are being held in my district, in East Harlem, away from their moms. A third of separated immigrant children – over 700 - are now in my home state of New York.
“If Republicans are serious about families, we should pass this Motion to Recommit and the Keep Families Together Act.
“This Act is simple - it would protect immigrant children from government-sponsored abuse.
“It would keep us in compliance with the Flores decree, yes, a court decree. This decree disallows for children to be held more than 20 days.
“It is also in line with yesterday’s preliminary injunction by San Diego’s U.S. District Court Judge, which requires that children younger than 5 be returned to their parents within 14 days, and older children be returned within 30 days.
“This decision also cements that ‘government is enjoined from removing any parent without their children; and that government is required to provide parents phone contact with children within 10 days.’
“This is Parenting 101.
“Mr. Speaker, show some basic compassion for these young children, their brother and sisters, and their parents. Every single Member of Congress should be able to stand behind this simple idea that families, regardless of where they were born, belong together.
The separation of children from their families constitutes child abuse!
“Mr. Speaker, we need to ask ourselves, will we continue to be a country of aspiration or a country of deportation? Will we step up and be the country that allowed me, as a young child, to find safety – next to my mom and dad?
“Mr. Speaker, I ask for a RECORDED VOTE.”
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First elected to Congress in 2016, Rep. Adriano Espaillat is serving his first term in Congress where he serves as a member of the influential U.S. House Foreign Affairs Committee, the House Committee on Education and the Workforce, and the House Select Committee on Small Business. He is a member of the Congressional Hispanic Caucus (CHC) and serves in a leadership role as CHC Freshman Representative to the Democratic Caucus. He is also chairman of the CHC Task Force for Transportation, Infrastructure and Housing. Rep. Espaillat’s Congressional District includes Harlem, East Harlem, northern Manhattan and the north-west Bronx. To find out more about Rep. Espaillat, visit online at https://espaillat.house.gov/.
Media inquiries: Candace Randle Person at Candace.Person@mail.house.gov