June 27, 2019

Watson Coleman Statement on Emergency Border Aid Package

Washington, D.C. (June 27, 2019) — Today, Rep. Bonnie Watson Coleman (D-NJ) issued the following statement after the House passed the Senate’s $4.6 billion funding package to aid the humanitarian crisis at the southern border but failed to include protections for the treatment and standards of care for migrant asylum seekers:

“For me, from the very beginning, this has been about the lives of the thousands of people fleeing violence and seeking a better life here in our country. I agree with my colleagues that we need restrictions to prevent this administration from diverting funds to an asinine and useless wall, and to set basic safety standards for the housing in which we place people — those are provisions I wanted, but the need for such restrictions does not, in my mind and heart, overcome the tremendous need to stem the chaos and horror at the border.

“My vote in favor of this bill does not mean that it’s the solution I wanted. My vote is a desperate attempt to ensure that the kinds of images that we’ve seen in news reports, and the kinds of things I saw myself at the border just a few months ago, do not continue. It is my attempt to make sure that there are no more deaths, like Valeria Ramírez or Jakelin Caal Maquín or any of the other babies who’ve died in our custody or seeking safety in this country.

“This bill is far from perfect, and it is not a true solution. Ending this crisis will take more than additional beds or border agents. It requires international aid that stabilizes the home countries of these people. It requires immigration laws that honor our tradition of compassion and acceptance for those seeking a better life here. I will continue to fight for these children and families, and look forward to working with my colleagues on real and comprehensive solutions to our immigration challenges.”