FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
March 23, 2021
WASHINGTON, D.C. – Today, House Border Security Subcommittee Chairwoman Nanette Diaz Barragán made the following statement after viewing recently released video and photographs on the condition of children in the custody of U.S. Customs and Border Protection at the Southern Border.
“Anyone who has been to the border and talked to, or seen recent interviews with, unaccompanied children at the border has to understand the moral and humanitarian obligation to provide adequate care and assistance. These are children.
“We need to recognize why these unaccompanied children, and their families, are willing to risk their lives to travel to the United States. They are seeking safety in the United States because of the deteriorating situation in the Northern Triangle countries of Honduras, El Salvador and Guatemala due to endemic violence, corruption, poverty, and multiple recent natural disasters. They are running to escape from a dangerous situation and a bleak future. They, and their families, feel they have no choice.
“While the video and photos released today show crowded conditions and inadequate facilities for the care of children, we must recognize that the Administration is working as fast as it can to get these children into the care of HHS ORR and, ultimately, to their families here in this country. Of course it needs to be done better and faster.
“Those blaming the Biden Administration for this situation are not serious about addressing the issues at the border. If they were, they’d know the Administration is simply following the law that has been in place for more than a decade regarding the asylum process for children from these countries. This is not new policy. This is simply the Administration doing, by law, what they are supposed to do.
“As imperfect as this process is, we must recognize how much more humane it is than the alternative. The choice of the last Administration was to turn our backs on these children and send them back to the gangs, criminals and cartels waiting for them on the other side of the border and back in their home countries.
“Imagine if a neighbor’s child knocked on your door after fleeing violence and was asking for protection. Would you open the door and try to comfort and help that child, or would you shut the door on them and let that child continue to face danger?
“If the United States wants to truly live up to its ideals and obligations, we need to take care to provide adequate care and assistance to these children when they arrive on our doorstep.
Nanette Diaz Barragán is proud to represent California’s 44th Congressional District, which includes the communities of Carson, Compton, Florence-Firestone, Lynwood, North Long Beach, Rancho Dominguez, San Pedro, South Gate, Walnut Park, Watts, Willowbrook and Wilmington. She serves as chairwoman of the House Homeland Security Committee’s Subcommittee on Border Security.