Rep. Huffman Votes to Improve Humanitarian Standards at The Border
Washington, D.C.- Representative Jared Huffman (D-San Rafael) joined a majority of the House of Representatives in taking urgent action to set new humanitarian and medical standards for children and families held in American custody along the U.S.-Mexico border.
The Humanitarian Standards for Individuals in Customs and Border Protection Custody Act, which passed the House 233-195 last night, would require Customs and Border Protection (CBP) facilities to provide adequate shelter, sanitation, and nutrition, along with thorough health screenings, to everyone held in CBP custody. The bill was authored by Rep. Raul Ruiz (D-CA).
“The daily reports from border facilities are gut-wrenching,” said Rep. Huffman. “These overcrowded and unsanitary conditions violate basic humanitarian standards and they are an affront to the core values of our nation. The Humanitarian Standards for Individuals in Customs and Border Protection Custody Act will help ensure that American facilities protect the health and safety of asylum seekers at our border and of CBP officers. The Senate must now quickly act to approve this legislation. This week, I will travel to our southern border and see the conditions firsthand.”
Over the past year, the grim conditions of numerous immigrant detention facilities have led to widespread illnesses among many adults and young children, resulting in at least seven reported deaths.
The Humanitarian Standards for Individuals in Customs and Border Protection Custody Act requires Customs and Border Protection (CBP) to ensure that its border facilities are equipped to meet and deliver basic humanitarian standards of care for detained individuals, including families and children.
Specifically, this bill:
- Protects children’s and families’ health: requiring the Customs and Border Protection (CBP) to provide timely, appropriate and standards-based health screenings by licensed medical professionals.
- Creates water, sanitation, and hygiene standards: requiring the CBP to provide sufficient drinking water; private, safe and clean toilets; a handwashing station; and basic personal hygiene products.
- Sets out nutrition standards: requiring that detainees receive three meals a day, with age-appropriate caloric intake, and special diets for babies, pregnant and breastfeeding women, and the elderly and ill.
- Allows Members of Congress to visit facilities without advance warning.
- Establishes standards for shelters: Specifying space requirements, temperate ranges and bedding standards, and also protecting religious freedom, family unity and the safety of unaccompanied minors and LGBTQ persons.
The full text of the Humanitarian Standards for Individuals in Customs and Border Protection Custody Act can be found here.