Update on Border Spending Bill and Horrific Conditions

POLITICO 06/26/2019

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The Senate passed a $4.6 billion emergency spending bill on Wednesday, one day after the Democratic House approved its own competing legislation.


Vice President Mike Pence has been deputized by Trump to negotiate with Pelosi during Trump's trip overseas for the G20 meeting, according to a source involved in the negotiations. The president wants changes to asylum law included in the bill while Pelosi wants more migrants protections — positions that would lead to a long and difficult negotiation.


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House Democrats plan showdown with Senate over border aid

THE HILL

06/27/19

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The partisan showdown over a $4.5 billion border aid package rumbled on Thursday morning, as Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) and House Democrats planned a vote on an amended proposal providing explicit protections to migrant children in the face of opposition from the White House and Senate Republicans.


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The horrifying conditions facing kids in border detention, explained

On any given day, 2,000 children are in Border Patrol custody, and the problems are hardly confined to one facility.

VOX

06/25/2019

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Because the law defines an “unaccompanied” child as someone without a parent or legal guardian here, border agents don’t have the ability to keep a child with a grandparent, aunt or uncle, or even a sibling who’s over 18, though advocates have also raised concerns that border agents are separating relatives even when there is evidence of legal guardianship.


Under the terms of US law — and especially the 1997 Flores settlement, which governs the treatment of children in immigration custody — immigration agents are obligated to get unaccompanied children out of immigration detention as quickly as possible, and to keep them in the least restrictive conditions possible while they’re there. Barring emergencies, children aren’t supposed to be in Border Patrol custody for more than 72 hours before being sent to HHS — which is responsible for finding and vetting a sponsor to house the child (usually their closest relative in the United States).


That hasn’t been happening. Attorneys, doctors, and human rights observers have consistently reported that children are being held by Border Patrol for days or longer before being picked up by HHS. And in the meantime, they’re being kept in facilities that weren’t built to hold even adults for that period of time, or in improvised “soft-sided” facilities that look like (and are commonly referred to as) tents.


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Inside a Texas Building Where the Government Is Holding Immigrant Children

THE NEW YORKER

June 22, 2019

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I spoke by phone with one of them, Warren Binford, a law professor at Willamette University and the director of its clinical-law program. She told me that, although Flores is an active court case, some of the lawyers were so disturbed by what they saw that they decided to talk to the media. We discussed the daily lives of the children in custody, the role that the guards are playing at the facility, and what should be done to unite many of the kids with their parents. Our conversation has been edited for length and clarity.

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