House Democrats Introduce Emergency Border Supplemental

June 21, 2019
Press Release
$4.5 billion package addresses humanitarian crisis, includes robust oversight of Trump administration and provisions to protect rights and dignity of migrants

WASHINGTON — House Democrats, led by House Appropriations Committee Chairwoman Nita M. Lowey (D-NY-17), today introduced legislation to provide humanitarian assistance for migrants at the southern border.

The legislation provides $4.5 billion in emergency spending to address the humanitarian crisis at the border, with significant funding for priorities including legal assistance, food, water, and medical services, support services for unaccompanied children, alternatives to detention, and refugee services.

“There are serious humanitarian needs at the border, and we all recognize the clear need to act,” said Chairwoman Lowey. “This legislation would address the humanitarian crisis in a way that balances the needs at the border with the imperative to hold the administration accountable. Just as important, it would provide robust humanitarian funding and necessary oversight protections to protect the rights and dignity of migrants. This legislation is a critical step to meeting the urgent needs of migrant families and children at the border, and I urge the Senate to consider it without delay.”

“We need robust funding to address the crisis at the border and provide the care and services needed to protect the health, safety, and welfare of all migrants. This supplemental achieves that. Doing nothing will only allow the Trump Administration to make a bad situation worse,” said House Appropriations Subcommittee on Commerce, Justice, Science, and Related Agencies Chair José E. Serrano.

“This bill is a sensible compromise that reflects American values by promoting the just and humane treatment of migrants,” said House Appropriations Subcommittee on Homeland Security Chairwoman Lucille Roybal-Allard. “In addition to resources that will alleviate overcrowding in CBP facilities, it includes funding for a multi-agency pilot program that would improve the efficiency of processing migrants while also helping to ensure their medical needs are addressed, they know their rights and responsibilities under immigration law, and they have access to legal counsel. I urge my colleagues to vote for this bill so that we can address the humanitarian crisis at our southern border.”

“Today’s emergency supplemental bill provides funding for the ongoing humanitarian crisis at the border along with enhanced protections for unaccompanied children that will help place them safely and expeditiously into a sponsor’s care,” said House Appropriations Subcommittee on Labor, Health and Human Services, Education, and Related Agencies Chairwoman Rosa DeLauro. “Given the Trump Administration’s history of abuses, Congress cannot and will not provide them with a blank check to continue its immoral and dangerous immigration policies. That is why this bill ensures that the Administration ends the practice of using the Department of Health and Human Services as an immigration enforcement agency, provides funding for additional field specialists and case management services to expedite safe placements, requires HHS to allow Members of Congress oversight visits to facilities holding unaccompanied children without preconditions, and much more. Our government has a moral responsibility to care for these kids, and Congress will act to make sure that is the case.”

Among its provisions, the border aid supplemental includes:

  • $934.5 million for processing facilities, food, water, sanitary items, blankets, medical services, and safe transportation;
  • $866 million to reduce reliance on influx shelters to house children;
  • $200 million for an integrated, multi-agency processing center pilot program for families and unaccompanied children, with participation by non-profit organizations;
  • $100 million for legal services for unaccompanied children, child advocates, and post-release services;
  • $60 million to assist jurisdictions experiencing a significant influx of migrants and non-profit organizations serving those communities;
  • $20 million for Alternatives to Detention;
  • $15 million for the Legal Orientation Program to educate migrants about their rights and legal proceedings; and
  • $9 million to speed up placement of children with sponsors and manage their cases.

The supplemental also contains important oversight provisions to hold the administration accountable and to protect the rights and dignity of migrants, including:

  • No funding for a border wall or barriers, or for ICE detention beds;
  • Prohibits the use of funds for any purpose not specifically described;
  • Places strict conditions on influx shelters to house children by mandating compliance with requirements set forth in the Flores settlement;
  • Protects sponsors and potential sponsors from DHS immigration enforcement based on information collected by HHS during the sponsor vetting process;
  • Ensures congressional oversight visits to facilities caring for unaccompanied children without a requirement for prior notice;
  • Requires monthly reporting on unaccompanied children separated from their families;
  • Requires additional reporting about the deaths of children in government custody; and
  • Ensures CBP facilities funded in the bill comply with the National Standards on Transport, Escort, Detention, and Search.

The text of the bill is here. A division-by-division summary is here. A comparison of the House and Senate emergency border supplementals is here. A fact sheet on the bill is here.


116th Congress