House Judiciary Committee Passes Humanitarian Standards for Individuals in Customs and Border Protection Custody Act

July 17, 2019
Press Release

Washington, D.C. –Today, the House Judiciary Committee voted 18-13 to report H.R. 3239, the Humanitarian Standards for Individuals in Customs and Border Protection Custody Act, to the full House for a vote.  The legislation, authored by Representative Raul Ruiz, M.D. (D-CA), requires all individuals in Customs and Border Protection (CBP) custody to receive an initial medical screening and sets certain minimum standards of hygiene, nutrition, and shelter that CBP must meet. The bill comes in response to the chaos and cruelty of the Trump Administration’s immigration policy that has contributed to the needless deaths of 10 people in CBP custody in the last nine months, including 3 children and 7 adults.

"Treating individuals in CBP custody with basic standards of human decency is the very least that we can do, and it is outrageous that this Administration needs Congress to act before it will do the right thing,” said House Judiciary Chairman Jerrold Nadler (D-NY).  "We have been confronted with the images of too many children and families squeezed into overcrowded and unsanitary CBP facilities, making us all witnesses to the suffering and deaths of these individuals being held by the U.S. government. There is nothing we can do to bring them back, but we can help make certain that no other child or parent in CBP custody dies for lack of an appropriate medical screening or access to medical care. I commend Congressman Ruiz for his tireless work in introducing the Humanitarian Standards for Individuals in CBP Custody Act, and am proud to send this critical bill to the full House for passage."

"The Trump Administration’s policies have exacerbated the border situation, making it necessary for Congress to intervene," said Immigration and Citizenship Subcommittee Chair Zoe Lofgren (D-CA). "This important piece of legislation would help ensure that every person held at our border has their most basic needs met, including clean water, healthy food, and adequate shelter."

"When I visited our southern border, I saw visibly sick children coughing on one another, babies who were dirty and didn’t have diapers, and children sleeping on a hard, crowded, and cold floor. Now, six children have died in CBP custody. This inhumanity must end," said Congressman Raul Ruiz, M.D. (D-CA). "I’d like to thank Chairman Nadler, Chair Lofgren, and the Judiciary Committee for passing my bill – the Humanitarian Standards for Individuals in CBP Custody Act – to meet the basic humanitarian needs of families and develop a professional, humane response to the humanitarian challenges at our border. Today, we are closer than ever to ensuring our treatment of children, women, and families is consistent with our American values and the principles of basic human dignity."

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