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Congresswoman Ann McLane Kuster

Representing the 2nd District of New Hampshire

Live our values

Jul 25, 2019
Catching up with Annie

Dear Friend,

Live our Values: Compassionate Treatment for Migrants at the Border 

Earlier this month, I joined 19 of my Democratic colleagues to travel to the U.S.-Mexico border near McAllen and Brownsville, Texas. We were briefed by detention center staff and spoke to children and parents before crossing over the border at Gateway International Bridge to provide food and other items to migrant families attempting to apply for asylum in the United States. I was pleased to see an improvement in the treatment of children and families compared to my visit last year when children were still being separated from their parents at the border. Conditions have improved for some migrants, and children are no longer being separated from their parents at the facilities we visited, but I was deeply disturbed by what I saw at some of the facilities.

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 A mother and child at Ursula facility in McAllen

Some of the people we met had been in custody for as many as 60 days. The lights are on 24/7, and they are in cement cells without the ability to bathe or brush their teeth. Some told us they have not had enough to eat. As Members of Congress, it’s our responsibility to conduct oversight. The public must see what’s happening inside these border facilities. The way our government is treating vulnerable men, women and children is a humanitarian crisis and goes against our values as a nation.  

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Men being held in a detention cell

Improving Safety Conditions at Border Facilities 

Yesterday evening, I voted in favor of H.R. 3239, the Humanitarian Standards for Individuals in Customs and Border Protection Custody Act introduced by my colleague Dr. Raul Ruiz, which passed the House. This legislation, which I cosponsored, reforms the way migrants are treated in Customs and Border Protection’s custody.  It also includes two amendments I introduced to help ensure CBP is compliant with its own sexual abuse prevention standards and require the Secretary of Homeland Security to release data on reports of sexual abuse complaints. I was pleased that my amendments passed unanimously. Women, children, and men who come to this country should be treated with compassion and respect, not in the inhumane way so many are currently being treated at our border. The reports that people in CBP’s custody are experiencing sexual abuse are heart-wrenching and completely unacceptable. We have a responsibility to act, and I’m proud the House passed this desperately needed legislation. You can watch the speech I delivered on the House floor about my amendments here

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Speaking about amendments to H.R. 3239. Watch here

Securing Critical Funding to Address the Border Crisis

Last month, I voted to provide $4.5 billion in emergency funding to address the humanitarian crisis at the border. The funds will be used to bring food, sanitary items, medical services, and other essentials to immigrants, and will help relieve overcrowding.  In March, I was proud to lead a letter to the House Appropriations Committee asking it to increase funding for services for unaccompanied children, including funding for legal services, post-release services, and child advocacy services. This letter was signed by 80 members of Congress ranging across the Caucus’ ideological perspective from Congressman Max Rose to Congresswoman Alexandria Ocasio Cortez. Because of our leadership, the appropriations committee provided $190 million for these three items in Fiscal Year 2020. 

History Will Judge Us 

The sad fact of the matter is until Congressional Republicans and Senator Mitch McConnell recognize that what is taking place on our Southern Border is a stain on our collective conscience and tears at our very fabric as a nation, more innocent children and families will suffer. Future generations will judge us based on how we treat the most vulnerable, and I will continue to do my part to ensure that history shows there were those who spoke truth to power and fought for justice.  

I want to hear from you

I encourage you to continue reaching out to me to express your concerns on this and other issues, as I am here to listen. Please contact my Washington, DC office at 202-225-5206 or my Concord office at 603-226-1002. 

Thank you for everything you do to make New Hampshire such a great place to live. 

Sincerely,