A $4.5 billion migrant aid bill is making a Democratic House divided against itself.
The legislation, expected to be up for a vote Tuesday, is designed to provide humanitarian care for the overload of migrants who continue to cross the border. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi supports the bill while more liberal and very vocal House Democrats are opposing it, The New York Times reported Monday.
Critics of the bill say that any funds approved by Congress will be used by the Trump administration to continue its policy of detention and deportation. (RELATED: Dan Crenshaw Calls Out Clinton For Using Border Crisis As A Democratic Fundraiser)
The debate has focused on the fate of hundreds of migrant children who were moved from a Clint, Texas border patrol center because there was insufficient soap, toothbrushes and food to meet their needs. Reports circulated of infants and toddlers not receiving adequate care while living in very poor conditions.
Pelosi met with key Democrats on Monday night in an effort to ensure she has enough votes to pass the bill, according to the Times.
Along with the living conditions of illegal aliens at the border, there is the backdrop of President Donald Trump’s continued commitment to deport millions of illegal immigrants who continue to live in the U.S. After promising a weekend cleanup, Trump called off the deportation operation, apparently at the behest of Pelosi who called the president to seek time to negotiate. Trump tweeted that he was wiling to talk and had “delayed the Illegal Immigration Removal Process (Deportation) for two weeks.”
At the request of Democrats, I have delayed the Illegal Immigration Removal Process (Deportation) for two weeks to see if the Democrats and Republicans can get together and work out a solution to the Asylum and Loophole problems at the Southern Border. If not, Deportations start!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) June 22, 2019
Pelosi thanked Trump for compromising and continued to call for the passage of the emergency aid bill, insisting the money will be used for humanitarian purposes and “does not fund the administration’s failed mass detention policy.” (RELATED: Democratic Mayor: ‘We Are Sick And Tired’ Of Government Inaction On Illegal Immigration)
“As members of Congress and as Americans, we have a sacred moral responsibility to protect the human rights and the lives of vulnerable children and families,” she said, according to the Times. “To do anything less would be an outrageous and unacceptable violation of our oath and our morality.”
But the progressive wing of the House Democrats aren’t supporting the move, with its more prominent representatives saying recently that any money allocated to Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) or the U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) will be used for the “killing” of children
“I will not fund another dime to allow ICE to continue its manipulative tactics,” Ocasio-Cortez said on Monday evening as she walked to Pelosi’s office, according to the Times.
Over the weekend, Ocasio-Cortez teamed up with other “progressive congresswomen” — colleagues like Democratic Minnesota Rep. Ilhan Omar, Massachusetts Rep. Ayanna Pressley and Michigan Rep. Rashida Tlaib — to issue a news release that vowed to withhold further funding for ICE and the CBP.
The GOP has supported building mass concentration camps on the southern border. Kids & families are dying.
Now they want money for more – w/ ZERO negotiation on how $ is spent.
— Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (@AOC) June 22, 2019
The news release called ICE and the CBP “radicalized, criminal agencies” that “are destroying families and killing innocent children.”
“It is absolutely unconscionable to even consider giving one more dollar to support this President’s deportation force that openly commits human rights abuses and refuses to be held accountable to the American people,” the group said.
Washington Democratic Rep. Pramila Jayapal joined the group on Monday, the Times reported.
“We all want to address the problems at the border, but we don’t know that there are enough sticks in this bill to make sure that the Trump administration actually spends the money the way they’re supposed to,” said Jayapal, co-chairwoman of the Progressive Caucus. “He’s creating these crises and then trying to point a finger at Democrats to give him more money, which he then uses for his own purposes.”