United States President Donald Trump (Reuters)
WASHINGTON – The United States House of Representatives on Tuesday approved a $4.5 billion aid package to address the migrant surge along the U.S.-Mexico border, including new standards for migrants in custody following reports of poor conditions facing young children at overcrowded facilities.
The Democratic-led House voted 230-195, mostly along party lines, to pass the measure, but its future is uncertain.
The Republican-run Senate is working on its own version of the bill, and Republican President Donald Trump has vowed to veto the House legislation, with White House officials saying it would hamstring the administration’s border enforcement efforts.
Trump on May 1 requested the aid for programs that house, feed, transport and oversee record numbers of Central American families seeking asylum in the United States and straining capacity at migrant shelters in border cities.
Attorneys raised alarms last week after finding more than 300 migrant children in an overcrowded Texas border patrol station, where they said some had been held for weeks in squalid conditions without adequate food and water.
Amid the ensuing outcry, the acting commissioner of the U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) agency, John Sanders, said on Tuesday he was resigning.
Democrats emphasised on Tuesday that while they were approving the border aid to address the humanitarian crisis, they were not ratifying the administration’s attempts to restrict and discourage immigration, which Trump has made a central focus of his presidency.
“Our legislation is a vote against the cruel attitude towards children of this administration. This bill does not fund the administration’s failed mass detention policy. Instead it funds effective humane alternatives to detention that have a proven record of success,” House Speaker Nancy Pelosi said ahead of the vote. (Reuters)