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Hoyer Remarks at Press Conference on Legislation to Address Humanitarian Crisis at the Border and Prevent Loss of Life

WASHINGTON, DC – House Majority Leader Steny H. Hoyer (MD) joined Congressman Raul Ruiz, M.D. (CA-36) and Congressional Hispanic Caucus (CHC) Members for a press conference announcing the introduction of the Humanitarian Standards for Individuals in Customs and Border Protection (CBP) Custody Act, legislation that would establish minimum standards requiring CBP to meet the humanitarian needs of the individuals in its custody. Below is a transcript of his remarks:

“One of the strengths of the Congress of the United States is the diversity of experience, disciplines, and expertise that our Members have.

“I am proud to join somebody who has had firsthand experience in dealing with medical challenges in an emergency setting.  The fact that he visited the border, and you saw not only his intellect but also his heart, his emotion, his feelings. I would think that almost every American would say: ‘that’s what I want in my Representative. That’s what I want our country to be.’ A country with the heart to see itself as a humanitarian country, as a protector of people.

“I want to thank Dr. Ruiz for introducing this critically important legislation. As he said, seven children have died at the border. That ought not to happen; that is unacceptable; and it’s inconsistent with who we are as a country.

“Migrant families coming to our borders and seeking refuge ought to be treated with dignity and respect and humanely. Sadly, we are finding that they are instead met with inadequate care, housing, and nutrition. We’re seeing children left in vans overnight while waiting to be reunited with their parents.

“Dr. Ruiz’s discussion about the plight that he saw [at detention facilities] as he walked down the hall and looked into the windows, it is one that too many of us have seen. So it was not an isolated incident, of which Dr. Ruiz speaks.

“We’re witnessing migrants crowded under a bridge as shelter, forced to stay there day and night. We’re hearing of migrants being forced to live in ice boxes, with nothing but a foil blanket to keep warm.

“That’s not America. That’s not what our people would want to see happen to their child, to their wife, to their husband, to their son, or daughter. This is wrong, unacceptable in America. This must not go on.

“The legislation introduced today by Dr. Ruiz and cosponsors, that I am proud to support, would help ensure that the United States is meeting basic humanitarian standards. I think you ought to hear that phrase a lot: basic humanitarian standards. I can’t believe there is a citizen in America or a person in America who would say they did not have the expectation that their country would meet basic humanitarian standards. That’s who we are.

“I thank Dr. Ruiz for visiting the border and using his medical expertise to put forward this legislation. I commend the entire CHC for its leadership on this issue. I know that Assistant Speaker Luján has been a leader in this effort as well. I know that so many behind me did. I want to thank, on behalf of House leadership, all of you who have taken time to come here and to speak to the American people on that of which you know.

“I am convinced that if they have the knowledge, they will demand action to meet basic humanitarian concerns.

“At this time, let me yield to Assistant Speaker Ben Ray Luján of New Mexico.”

Distribution channels: U.S. Politics


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