06.21.18

Schiff, 94 Colleagues Demand House Appropriations Committee Reject Family Separations in Upcoming Funding Bills

In Letter, Members Also Demand Committee Block Reprogramming of Funds for Child Separation and Construction of Tent Cities

Washington D.C. – Today, Rep. Adam Schiff (D-CA) and 94 of his colleagues sent a letter  to the House Appropriations Committee asking the committee to prevent any funds from being used by the Trump Administration to separate kids from their families entering the United States.

“The President’s June 20th Executive Order leaves many important issues unsettled, and Congress must still pass legislation ensuring we keep families together,” Schiff and other Members wrote in the letter. “We urge you to use the FY19 Appropriations process to protect families and children.”

The letter requests the House Appropriations Committee include language in any relevant funding legislation to ensure that no funds are used to reimplement this cruel policy. Specifically the letter asks the committee to:

  1. Include language making clear that family separation is not an appropriate or endorsed policy, and restrict the use of funds for policies that separate families who enter the United States; and
  2. Reject any request by the Trump Administration to reprogram funds to increase capacity for children separated from their parents, including the construction of “tent cities” on military bases.

“The Administration’s policy of family separation is anathema to our values as a nation,” the letter continues. “The children who suffer irrevocable harm due to separation are not a means to demonstrate anti-immigration bona fides or create a deterrent on future immigrants - they are children who deserve to be treated with decency and empathy, just as we treat our own children.”

The letter was signed by Frederica S. Wilson (FL-24), Dina Titus (NV-01), Grace F. Napolitano (CA-32), Salud O. Carbajal (CA-24), Jacky Rosen (NV-03), John Garamendi (CA-03), Steve Cohen (TN-09), Donald Norcross (NJ-01), Juan Vargas (CA-51), Debbie Dingell (MI-12), Eleanor Holmes Norton (DC), Filemon Vela (TX-34), Jimmy Panetta (CA-20), Kurt Schrader (OR-05), Kathy Castor (FL-14), Madeleine Z. Bordallo (GU), Nydia M. Velázquez (NY-07), Jim Cooper (TN-05), Lois Frankel (FL-21), Henry C. “Hank” Johnson, Jr. (GA-04), Alcee L. Hastings (FL-20), Emanuel Cleaver (MO-05), Bonnie Watson Coleman (NJ-12), Judy Chu (CA-27), Colleen Hanabusa (HI-01), Gregory W. Meeks (NY-05), Yvette D. Clarke (NY-09), Peter Welch (VT), William Pascrell, Jr. (NJ-09), Bobby L. Rush (IL-01), John K. Delaney (MD-06), Gwen Moore (WI-04), Bill Foster (IL-11), Paul Tonko (NY-20), Jared Polis (CO-02), Jamie Raskin (MD-08), Luis V. Gutiérrez (IL-04), Jared Huffman (CA-02), James P. McGovern (MA-02), Darren Soto (FL-09), Gregorio Kilili Camacho Sablan (MP), Anthony G. Brown (MD-04), Al Green (TX-09), André Carson (IN-07), Ted Deutch (FL-22), Mike Thompson (CA-05), Wm. Lacy Clay (MO-01), Joseph P. Kennedy (MA-04), Frank Pallone (NJ-06), Ro Khanna (CA-17), Denny Heck (WA-10), Gene Green (TX-29), David N. Cicilline (RI-01), A. Donald McEachin (VA-04), Jan Schakowsky (IL-09), Stacey E. Plaskett (VI), Donald M. Payne, Jr. (NJ-10), Adam Smith (WA-09), Vicente Gonzalez (TX-15), Tim Walz (MN-01), Michelle Lujan Grisham (NM-01), Keith Ellison (MN-05), Diana DeGette, (CO-01) Elijah E. Cummings (MD-07), Joe Crowley (NY-14), Ruben J. Kihuen (NV-04), David Scott (GA-13), Jimmy Gomez (CA-34), Al Lawson (FL-05), Val Butler Demings (FL-10), Stephen F. Lynch (MA-08), Charlie Crist (FL-13), J. Luis Correa (CA-46), Bradley S. Schneider (IL-10), Sander Levin (MI-09), Hakeem Jeffries (NY-08), Linda T. Sánchez (CA-38), Gerald E. Connolly (VA-11), Ed Perlmutter (CO-07), Carolyn B. Maloney (NY-12), Dan Kildee (MI-05), Doris Matsui (CA-06), Joaquin Castro (TX-20), Adriano Espaillat (NY-13), Julia Brownley (CA-26), Albio Sires (NJ-08), Eric Swalwell (CA-15), Anna G. Eshoo (CA-18), John Yarmuth (KY-03), William R. Keating (MA-09), Donald S. Beyer Jr. (VA-08), John Sarbanes (MD-03), Brendan F. Boyle (PA-13), and Dwight Evans (PA-02). 

Read the full letter below: 

Dear Chairman Frelinghuysen and Ranking Member Lowey: 

As you continue the process of writing Appropriations legislation for Fiscal Year 2019, we request that the Committee include appropriate language to make clear that Congress does not intend to provide funding or support for the cruel policy of family separation which has been carried out by the Administration. 

Over the past months, we have watched in horror as hundreds of families have been separated when entering the United States. There has been a significant increase in family separations since the Department of Justice adopted a “zero-tolerance policy” in May 2018, and it is likely that even more families will be separated as a result of recent actions that will make fewer immigrants eligible for asylum. Separating children, some still infants, from their parents and guardians is an inhumane policy which shocks the conscience.

What limited reporting exists about the impact of these newly implemented policies is devastating. Last week, a father who was separated from his children after seeking asylum died while in custody, apparently from suicide. Reporters this week described a case in which a child was forcibly taken from a mother while breastfeeding. There are also reports that having nearly exhausted shelter space for children, the Administration is considering constructing “tent cities” on military installations.

The Administration’s policy of family separation is anathema to our values as a nation. The children who suffer irrevocable harm due to separation are not a means to demonstrate anti-immigration bona fides or create a deterrent on future immigrants - they are children who deserve to be treated with decency and empathy, just as we treat our own children.

Despite the President’s June 20th Executive Order, which leaves many important issues unsettled, Congress should still pass legislation ensuring we keep families together, and we urge you to use the FY19 Appropriations process to protect families and children. Accordingly we request the following:

  1. In relevant Appropriations legislation, the Committee should include language making clear that family separation is not an appropriate or endorsed policy, and restrict the use of funds for policies that separate families who enter the United States; and
  2. If any agency requests authority to reprogram existing funding to increase capacity for children separated from their parents, including the construction of “tent cities” on military bases, the Committee must reject these requests.

The Administration’s policy of separating children from their parents and guardians must end, and the Congress should not be complicit in this assault on our values as a nation. The Appropriations Committee and the Congress should make it abundantly clear that the funding provided to agencies will no longer be used for this purpose.

Sincerely, 

Adam B. Schiff

Member of Congress