REP. LORETTA SANCHEZ: THIS IS NOT A BORDER SECURITY ISSUE, THIS IS A HUMANITARIAN CRISIS
WASHINGTON – Congresswoman Loretta Sanchez (CA-46), senior member of the House Homeland Security Committee and former Chairwoman of the Border Security Subcommittee, today spoke at a press conference with the Congressional Hispanic Caucus (CHC) discussing the recent increase in unaccompanied children along the southern border. Rep. Sanchez joined the CHC in calling for swift passage of the President’s request for emergency funds and emphasized that many of the current challenges at the border would have been addressed if last year’s Senate immigration bill had been passed in the House.
Below are her remarks as prepared for delivery.
“I have served on the House Homeland Security Committee and the Border Security Subcommittee since its inception and I can tell you one thing: This is not a “border security” problem. This is a complex humanitarian crisis that is a result of dire situations in these children’s home countries: escalating gang violence, weak government institutions, a lack of social services and economic opportunity.
“But how poorly this is being addressed on our side of the border is a result of our broken immigration system. Many of the emergency requests made by the President would not be on his wish list if we had simply passed last year’s Senate immigration bill – especially those addressing the shortage of immigration court resources and clarity of asylum and refugee provisions.
“If that bill had been brought to the floor and passed, unaccompanied minor children would be appointed lawyers to represent them. If that bill had been brought to the floor and passed, there would be funds for secure, humane alternatives to detention like electronic monitoring. If that bill had been brought to the floor and passed, there would be increased oversight of detention facilities, there would be prompt custody determinations and bond hearings and there would be better guidelines for the detention of parents and caregivers of children.
“It is all too clear from this situation that we cannot ignore our broken immigration system any longer.”