Rep. Engel says Supplemental Appropriations Bill Won't Fix the Root Problem of Humanitarian Crisis at the Border

Adds that the U.S. should work more closely with our neighbors in Central America

Washington, D.C. – Congressman Eliot Engel, a senior member of the House Energy and Commerce Committee and the Ranking Member of the House Foreign Affairs Committee, issued the following statement after voting against the Border Supplemental Appropriations bill:

“There is a humanitarian crisis unfolding on our Southern border, and House Republicans refuse to acknowledge the urgency with which we must address it.

“Thousands of unaccompanied children from Central America have risked their lives migrating to America, clinging to the hope that a better future awaits them once they cross the border.

“There’s no doubt that this is a dangerous journey, aided by so-called ‘coyotes’ who profit from human smuggling. Some of these children have been separated from their parents or are orphans. Others are sent with their parents’ blessing, because so uncertain is the future and unyielding is the violence that anything seems better than staying in their native country.

“President Obama has asked Congress for $3.7 billion to resolve this crisis. Specifically, he has requested funding for additional immigration judges and programs that repatriate and reintegrate returning migrants into society in their home countries. Most importantly, the President requested $300 million in new foreign assistance to Central America to address the root causes of this migration. I wrote a letter to the President in June -- signed by 61 of my colleagues -- asking for precisely this. Without helping to lift up the most vulnerable communities in Central America, we will be unable to stop children from making the perilous trek to the United States.

“Denying our government of the necessary resources to properly address this situation does nothing to resolve it. Let’s work with our neighbors to fix this problem, rather than wash our hands of it.

“But that may be too much to ask of House Republicans. We have many unanswered problems facing our country that the House leadership has chosen to ignore. Their refusal to govern has brought immeasurable harm to our economy, our families and now to these children.

“The way in which we respond to the crisis at our border says more about who we are as a nation than any of our pledges to protect human rights. If we cannot abide by our own principles, then we have none.”