Republicans successfully blocked an amendment by Rep. Adam Schiff (D-Burbank) that would have prevented the installation of tent cities to house migrant children on military bases.
The plan to detain the children is part of President Donald Trump’s zero-immigration policy which, according to Schiff, led to thousands of children being separated from their parents who were seeking asylum in the US.
Thousands of people took to the streets Saturday, June 30, to oppose Trump’s policy in what were called “Families Belong Together” marches.
Locally, about 1,500 people marched 2.5 miles from Pasadena City College to the Pasadena Public Library, according to local reports.
“None of the funds made available by this act may be used to assist with, coordinate, or approve the construction of facilities for the purpose of detaining an unaccompanied alien child on lands owned by the Department of Defense,” Schiff wrote in his amendment.
Trump took to Twitter to reiterate what he views as his strengths on immigration.
“When people come into our Country illegally, we must IMMEDIATELY escort them back out without going through years of legal maneuvering,” Trump said. “Our laws are the dumbest anywhere in the world. Republicans want Strong Borders and no Crime. Dems want Open Borders and are weak on Crime!”
In his executive order, the president pledged to keep families together, but so far no information has been released revealing how parents would be reunited with their detained children.
“The border is just as tough. But we do want to keep families together,” Trump said. “We are keeping the family together.”
“Thousands of children are still being detained in facilities far away from their parents. Despite statements to the contrary by the president, it is unclear when they will be reunited and if the administration has truly ended its cruel policy of family separation,” said Schiff. “Congress should prohibit the use of funds to hold more children in detention camps, and I am deeply disappointed that the House Majority has prevented a vote on a more humane policy towards children and families.”
Immigration has been a hot button topic since the last election when Trump was widely criticized for promising to deport millions of illegal immigrants.
Despite that criticism, more people were deported during Barack Obama’s presidency. During Obama’s two terms in office, more than 3 million people were deported.
But immigration experts say that’s only because of changes made to immigration laws under President George W. Bush.
Prior to the change, most people caught illegally crossing the southern border were taken back to Mexico and called a “voluntary return.” Critics also deemed the term “catch and release.”
Voluntary releases were not counted in Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s deportation statistics until Bush’s presidency, according to the Los Angeles Times, which led to a rise in recorded deportations under the previous two presidents.