Representative Nita Lowey

Representing the 17th District of New York

Lowey Statement on Heinous, Cruel Treatment of Migrants

July 12, 2019
Press Release

Congresswoman Lowey decries dangerous atrocities and treatment of children and families in our very own backyard

WHITE PLAINS, NY – Congresswoman Nita Lowey (D-NY17/Rockland-Westchester), Chair of the House Appropriations Committee, issued this statement at the Lights for Liberty vigils across the Lower Hudson Valley regarding the mistreatment of migrant families at the border and in detention facilities:

“The Department of Homeland Security’s own Inspector General has documented dangerous atrocities happening in our backyard. Migrants who have crossed our border, desperate for a better, safe life for themselves and their children, face dangerous overcrowding and prolonged detention. Holding facilities lack beds, showers, enough food and clean water, and diapers for babies.

“Dehumanizing conditions and treatment have been deadly for two dozen migrants, some of them children whose ages were still measured in months. This is unacceptable in the United States of America. That is why I’m fighting to hold DHS accountable for its actions and ensure strong Congressional oversight as Chairwoman of the Appropriations Committee.

“And that’s why I voted against the final supplemental funding bill that was enacted in June to get much-needed assistance to migrants at our borders, especially children. That bill lacked restrictions to ensure better standards of care and better treatment of migrants that I included in my own bill that had passed the House previously.

“Mitch McConnell and Senate Republicans’ refusal to consider stronger oversight of the authorities allowing and carrying out atrocities at our border is reprehensible.

“Members of Congress will continue going to the facilities to reveal the truth and hold this Administration accountable. I’ll be in Homestead, Florida, on Monday to visit a temporary shelter where up to 2500 children are held.

“I’ve also taken other actions in recent weeks, including:

  • Cosponsored Rep. Roybal-Allard’s bills, H.R. 3452, the HELP Separated Families Act which would take new steps to prevent the permanent separation of children from their immigrant parents and H.R. 3451, the Humane Enforcement and Legal Protection (HELP) for Separated Children Act which would allow detained parents to communicate with their children while the parents are in ICE detention.
  • Cosponsored Rep. Espaillat’s bill, H.R. 1101 the Protecting Sensitive Locations Act which would prohibit immigration enforcement, including arrests, interviews, searches, and surveillance at sensitive locations including medical or healthcare facilities, public and private schools, places of worships, courthouses, DMV offices, and locations that provide emergency services.
  • Sent a letter to the Department of Homeland Security and the Department of Health and Human Services urging them to not weaponize shared information as a tool for immigration enforcement.

“We must remain engaged. We must speak truth to power.”

###