WASHINGTON – Today, Sen. Tom Carper (D-Del.), Chairman of the Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee, released the following statement in support of the Emergency Supplemental Funding Bill, introduced by Sen. Barbara Mikulski (D-Md.), Chairwoman of the Appropriations Committee. The measure includes funds to address the humanitarian crisis on the southern border:
“The humanitarian challenge we are currently facing on our southern border requires a thoughtful response – one that is consistent with the admonition that we should love our neighbors as we love ourselves. A critical piece of this effort includes making sure that we have the appropriate resources for dealing with these unaccompanied minors and families in a way that respects their rights, but also respects our laws. This proposal would provide the funding that is urgently needed to meet our obligations to provide basic services and legal proceedings for the children and families apprehended at our border and expand and expedite our ability to repatriate those who do not have a valid legal basis to remain in the United States. It would also begin to address some of the root causes that are driving this migration—the lack of hope and economic opportunity combined with violence and the lack of security in the region. That is why I am particularly pleased that the proposed supplemental includes $300 million to address root causes in these countries that are driving so many children and others to take the dangerous trip north. I am also encouraged that this measure includes resources to conduct critical oversight of these efforts through the offices of inspectors general of the agencies receiving funding.
“Since becoming Chairman of Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee in January 2013, I have made multiple visits to our southern border, Mexico, Guatemala, and El Salvador to learn first-hand what is driving the current surge in migration. Furthermore, earlier this month, I held two hearings that examined the challenges we are facing at the border, as well as the root causes that have created these challenges. I understand the sense of urgency needed to respond expeditiously and effectively to this challenge. Failure to do so would leave critical agencies, including Customs and Border Protection, Immigration and Customs Enforcement Agency, and the Department of Health and Human Services, without the funding needed to meet this challenge in just a few weeks and would further extend the backlogs in the Department of Justice’s immigration courts. We cannot allow that to happen. That’s why Congress needs to come together to support this measure.
“But this cannot be one and done. If we are serious about addressing this surge, we will need to do more—and frankly, so will others. Based on what I have seen and heard, solving this crisis requires a holistic approach, one that tackles the underlying causes that are pushing people out of Central America and the factors that are pulling them to our borders, in addition to addressing the immediate symptoms at our border. We need to work with the governments of El Salvador, Guatemala, and Honduras, with our partners in the region such as Mexico and Colombia, and with other stakeholders, including development banks, the private sector, and institutions of faith, and make a commitment together to address the increasing violence, deteriorating economic conditions, and lack of hope plaguing many of these Central American communities. In making that commitment, we’ll not only prove ourselves good neighbors but ensure that we won’t continue to face an expensive humanitarian crisis at our borders a decade from now. I commend Chairwoman Mikulski for her hard work in this effort and call on my colleagues to act.”