IMMIGRATION LEGISLATION; Congressional Record Vol. 164, No. 104
(House of Representatives - June 21, 2018)

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                              {time}  1930
                        IMMIGRATION LEGISLATION

  The SPEAKER pro tempore. Under the Speaker's announced policy of 
January 3, 2017, the gentlewoman from New York (Ms. Clarke) is 
recognized for 60 minutes as the designee of the minority leader.

                             General Leave

  Ms. CLARKE of New York. Mr. Speaker, I ask unanimous consent that 
Members have 5 legislative days to revise and extend their remarks and 
include extraneous material on the subject of this evening's special 
  The SPEAKER pro tempore. Is there objection to the request of the 
gentlewoman from New York?
  There was no objection.
  Ms. CLARKE of New York. Mr. Speaker, this evening the Congressional 
Progressive Caucus is going to be sharing some thoughts with the 
American people about this extremely horrible zero-tolerance policy 
that Mr. Trump has subjected our Nation to.
  Mr. Speaker, I rise today in opposition to this administration's 
cruel and inhumane zero-tolerance policy at the border that has 
resulted in the separation of more than 2,000 children from their 
families and their loved ones.
  This policy calls to mind the worst of our history, including the 
internment of Japanese Americans during World War II, our refusal to 
grant safety to Jewish refugees during the Holocaust, and the treatment 
of Africans who were brought here as chattel slaves during and 
throughout the Middle Passage.
  Unlike what the administration says, this policy is not required by 
law, and I think that has been made plain to all Americans. It is not 
President Obama's doing, and I think that has been made plain to all 
Americans. It is not in any way justified by the Bible. In fact, as a 
Christian and someone who grew up in the church, I know that these very 
same verses were falsely used to justify four centuries of chattel 
slavery, and that the Bible teaches us to welcome the stranger and to 
beware of spiritual wickedness in high places.
  So don't be deceived. This policy of choice is solely the result of a 
racist, xenophobic, anti-immigrant, and antifamily values agenda 
adopted by this administration to intimidate immigrants of color 
seeking asylum from violence and persecution for their own political 
  The Trump administration has also sought to avoid responsibility for 
its decisions by cowardly claiming that no such policy exists, as 
Secretary Nielsen claimed in a reply to my March 20 letter and then 
reiterated more recently via Twitter--more lies and deception.
  However, when 2,000 children are separated from their families, many 
of whom have been dispersed across this Nation as a result of a 
decision made by the Trump Department of Justice, a policy of depravity 
indeed exists.
  But that is not all. Children are now, as I have stated, being 
shipped all across this Nation, including to New York City where there 
are currently at least 239 children being detained just a few miles 
from my district and thousands more who are miles away from their 
  Yesterday, Donald Trump finally gave way to public pressure by 
signing an executive order that he claims will end this horrific 
policy. Unfortunately, he did so by abrogating his responsibility under 
the Flores agreement to release children without unnecessary delay and 
to keep those who are in custody under the least restrictive conditions 
possible. This means that children will be detained with their 
families, which is also unacceptable.
  Unfortunately, this body, too, is neglecting its responsibility to 
the American people by debating the most restrictive immigration bills 
that ignore past commitments to Dreamers and the diversity visa lottery 
program, and would build an unnecessary and ineffective border wall 
with Mexico.
  To add insult to injury, Republicans, who control every branch of 
government, blame Democrats for their failure to legislate and offer 
these regressive, dead-on-arrival bills as solutions to problems that 
they themselves have created.
  So, tonight, I call on this administration to stop playing politics 
with immigrant lives and on my Republican colleagues to pass 
meaningful, comprehensive immigration reform that not only protects 
Dreamers, but protects individuals who are under temporary protected 
status, and stop separating families.
  Mr. Speaker, it is now my honor and my privilege to yield to the 
gentleman from Massachusetts (Mr. Kennedy). Representative Joe Kennedy 
represents the Fourth Congressional District of Massachusetts.
  Mr. KENNEDY. Mr. Speaker, I want to thank my colleague, Ms. Clarke, 
for her leadership on this issue and so many others in Congress as a 
member of the Congressional Progressive Caucus and of the Energy and 
Commerce Committee. Healthcare and immigration policies run through the 
veins of our society.
  Mr. Speaker, over the course of the day today and over the course of 
the last several days, my colleagues have

[[Page H5490]]

eloquently described the shortcomings of the immigration bills brought 
forward by Republicans. I echo their outrage at what has taken place 
over the past few weeks on American soil and their fury that Congress 
still is so unwilling or unable to address it.
  As this debate has unfolded, one chorus in particular caught my ear, 
these voices that say: Our own kids are suffering. Our own country has 
issues. We feel for these children at the border, but how do you expect 
us to take care of them when you have made it so hard for us to take 
care of our own?
  Mr. Speaker, it is those voices that I want to speak to this evening 
first to say: You are right.
  Mr. Speaker, we have children in this country who will not get one 
hot meal today let alone three. We have children who will show up to 
schools without books, children who will spend a winter without coats 
or Christmas presents, or a summer without clean water and cool air. We 
have children who are abused or ill, who are abandoned, and who are 
  All of this is in the most powerful country in the world. We should 
be ashamed and united in our rage that, as a country, a nation as rich 
as ours makes it so damn hard for families to be able to survive. We 
are united by a resolve to do better because if a place, a country like 
America, can't meet its people's needs, then who can?
  So, Mr. Speaker, some dream up walls, frantically grasping at what 
they can have and pushing others away in a desperate attempt to make 
sure that there is enough left over for them and their families. It is 
a ferocious instinct to defend ourselves and our loved ones, and one 
that any parent can understand, particularly those parents arriving at 
our border today, those who risk everything to show up on our shores 
and beg for mercy.
  Can we not see in them that same parental, basic human instinct to 
bear any burden to protect your child? If we were they, I know of no 
parent who wouldn't walk through jungles and deserts and risk gangs and 
violence for the chance of a brighter future for their child.
  In a perfect world, all borders would be peaceful, all governments 
would be strong and good, all families would be whole, all 
neighborhoods would be safe, and all communities would have the 
resources to fix what is broken and pick up those among us who have 
  But ours is not a perfect world. So, night after night, children show 
up on our doorstep terrified and traumatized. Yes, we have our own 
tragedies, our own struggles, and our own monsters to defeat. No, we 
cannot right every wrong; we cannot save every soul; and we cannot 
shoulder the world's inequities alone.
  But we absolutely can offer small and weary heads a safe place to 
rest. We can make space for people with no place else to go. We can do 
that and still take care of our own. We can welcome the tired, the 
poor, and those yearning to be free and still be free ourselves. We can 
help the very hungry afford food, the very sick get care, and the very 
cold shelter without jeopardizing our own dinner, our own health, and 
our own bed.
  We can choose both. Americans do every single day. Across the country 
in soup kitchens and shelters, in schools, on battlefields and 
operating tables, our people struggle, they stretch, and they extend. 
They do it when it is hard and when it is uncomfortable and 
  So no matter how many times this administration doubts their capacity 
or their compassion, they reach out. No matter how many times they try 
and force us to choose between taking care of someone else and taking 
care of ourselves, they do choose both.
  We cannot fall for that false choice, because if we, the United 
States of America, cannot figure out how to muster the resources, the 
courage, the boldness, and the political will to ensure that no child 
suffers on our shores, who will?

                              {time}  1945

  Ms. CLARKE of New York. Mr. Speaker, I thank the gentleman from 
Massachusetts for his eloquence and putting what has been a very 
disturbing period of time for the American people in perspective.
  Indeed, as our children born in the United States witness what is 
taking place under the Trump administration, we all have to ask 
ourselves a question about who we are as Americans and what it is that 
we are leaving as a legacy for our children and our grandchildren to 
inherit from us.
  I believe the gentleman from Massachusetts has really put it all into 
context. Indeed, here in the United States, where we have the access to 
the best of everything, we have limited ourselves by the artificial 
divisions that would subjugate some of humanity while elevating others.
  Having said that, I have been joined by one of the most eloquent 
speakers here in the House of Representatives. She is the chairwoman of 
our Steering and Policy Committee for the Democratic Caucus and has 
been a fierce fighter for children and families.
  Mr. Speaker, it is my honor to yield to the gentlewoman from the 
Third Congressional District of Connecticut (Ms. DeLauro).
  Ms. DeLAURO. Mr. Speaker, I thank the gentlewoman from New York with 
heartfelt thanks for organizing this effort tonight and calling 
attention to what is such a poignant and powerful issue, one that we 
haven't faced in a long time and one that has engaged the people of 
this country in a way that we have not seen in a very long time.
  Mr. Speaker, I rise to strongly condemn the Trump administration's 
policy of child abuse--yes, it is child abuse--at our Nation's border 
and to demand answers and solutions. The President's zero-tolerance 
policy has separated thousands of children from their parents, some who 
are younger than a year old.
  I just saw my colleague from Ohio, Marcy Kaptur, who was on the floor 
not that long ago, and she talked to me and said there have been two 
babies separated from their parents, ages 8 months and 11 months, and 
flown to Michigan.
  Think about it. Think about your own children. Think about your 
  The Trump administration is now keeping babies and toddlers in cages. 
The fencing is what you do for a dog run. It is the same kind of 
fencing that these children are in.
  Yesterday, the President signed an executive order. He claims it is 
going to fix the crisis that he made. Yet two infants were on a plane 
tonight, separated from their families and sent to Michigan.
  What is the weight of that executive order? It is not worth the paper 
it is written on. His executive order is not going to fix the crisis.
  Michelle Brane, director of the Women's Refugee Commission Migrant 
Rights and Justice program, describes the President's executive order 
as ``no solution.'' She said ``there are more than 2,000 children 
already separated from their parents. This executive order does nothing 
to address that nightmare.''
  There are 2,300 children who are in limbo. They don't know where 
their parents are. They are too young, some of them, to know where 
their parents are, and their parents don't know where they are.
  Have you ever been to a shopping mall on a Saturday with your kids or 
with your grandkids and all of a sudden you turn around and you can't 
find them? The panic is overwhelming. You don't know what to do first, 
who to call. You are looking around frantically. It is the same with a 
child who is calling out ``Mommy,'' ``Grandma,'' because they don't 
know where their link is.
  This is the United States of America. What are we doing? It is a 
nightmare. This is about children. They are at the center of this 
  As I see it, there are three crucial questions that President Trump 
and his fellow Republicans have yet to answer. First is reunification. 
There is no plan for reunification. How is this administration going to 
reunite children with their parents?
  According to statistics from the Department of Homeland Security, 
between May and June, the Trump administration, as I said, took 2,300 
children from their parents at the border. How are they going to 
guarantee prompt reunification of all of these children and their 
parents, especially when some of the parents have already been 
deported? Some of these children have none of the records necessary to 
turn them back to their parents or

[[Page H5491]]

even to verify who their parents are. Can you imagine?
  I fear that these children may never see their parents again. And 
that is what the former Director of U.S. Customs and Enforcement, John 
Sandweg, said. He warned: ``You could be creating thousands of 
immigrant orphans.''
  That is unspeakably heartbreaking, when you think about it, for many 
of these children and their parents. That last hug might have been 
their last hug. Can you imagine the terror?
  It is terror to not know where your child is and with the thought 
that you may never see that child again. I cannot imagine it.
  I was on the floor of the House today a good part of the day and I 
saw a lot of little tykes here, beautiful children playing on the 
chairs here in the safety and security with their mothers or their 
fathers who are sons, daughters, and Members of the House of 
Representatives, or maybe even grandchildren. I had my grandchildren 
here last week. If you think that you might not ever see them again or 
they may not see you, that is what is happening on the border.
  What are the standards under which the Trump administration is 
detaining these children?
  Children are the most vulnerable in our society. We need to take 
extreme precaution whenever we take responsibility for them.
  What are the accommodations in these detention facilities in regard 
to healthcare, availability of mental health professionals?
  Experts are sounding the alarm about the healt repercussions, the 
mental health repercussions. Luis H. Zayas is a professor of social 
work and psychiatry at the University of Texas at Austin. He said: 
``It's not like an auto body shop where you fix the dent and everything 
looks like new. We're talking about children's minds. If that trauma 
continues over a long period of time, that can actually begin to shift 
brain development because it becomes more of a chronic trauma.''

  These children need professional care. Instead, there are reports 
that children are being sedated. They are being injected with sedatives 
to keep them calm. There are reports that special-needs children are 
not receiving any of the care and attention they need.
  That is unacceptable. There are clear standards on the books on how 
children are to be cared for in these situations. We need to ensure the 
Trump administration is following the law.
  Another area is oversight. Congress has a moral and constitutional 
obligation to ensure the administration is taking the proper, 
immediate, and necessary steps to fix their own self-inflicted crisis, 
which is why I introduced a resolution which 180 of my colleagues have 
supported and Democratic colleagues have supported to condemn this 
policy as child abuse.
  This is child abuse, make no mistake. This is not an issue of right 
or left or Democrats or Republicans. This is an issue of right and 
wrong. That is why we sent a letter to the Office of Management and 
Budget Director, Mr. Mulvaney, and HHS Secretary Azar on June 14 and 
asked about the costs that the President's policy decision has 
  We have not heard an answer from them or from the administration on 
any of these questions--not on costs, not on reunification, not on 
standards, not on oversight. It is unacceptable.
  The President's self-manufactured crisis is child abuse, plain and 
simple. As Members of this Congress, we have a moral responsibility, a 
moral obligation to stand up and to say: Stop this child abuse. Mr. 
President, fix this crisis now. Your executive order didn't do it.
  Humanity, this is about our humanity. It is about the soul of this 
country and what we are about and where our values are. Whatever our 
views are on immigration, to watch what is happening at our border with 
disrupting families, wrenching children from their parents is a 
disgrace, and it is one that we have to address as Members of Congress, 
and it is one that this President and this administration and those 
others who support this effort need to look into their hearts and souls 
and say: I can't go there. Let's do something else to help to make a 
  I want to thank the gentlewoman for all that she is doing to bring 
attention to this issue. God bless her.
  Ms. CLARKE of New York. Mr. Speaker, I thank the gentlewoman from 
Connecticut for her impassioned plea and for enumerating for us the 
type of work that we are going to have to engage in to redeem ourselves 
by looking at reunification of these families to the best of our 
ability. We are going to need the resources. We are going to need the 
will. We are going to have to redeem ourselves by getting these 
children back to their parents by whatever means we possibly can 
  Rosa DeLauro also raised some very important questions about 
investigation and oversight about child abuse. It is my hope that we 
will continue to be vigilant because, indeed, all of our souls are tied 
to what has transpired here. None of us can feel as though we don't 
have a role to play in redeeming our country in what has just occurred.
  Mr. Speaker, it is my honor and privilege to yield to the gentleman 
from the Fifth District of Illinois (Mr. Quigley), someone who has been 
a part of this body fighting for justice and human dignity.
  Mr. QUIGLEY. Mr. Speaker, in less than a week, my office has received 
over 800 phone calls, emails, and letters from constituents regarding 
the crisis at the border, constituents who are alarmed, ashamed, and 
angry. Their outrage is warranted, and I share it.
  A Chicago public school teacher called, in tears, unable to shake the 
vision of her second graders locked in cages.
  A U.S. marine called to share his recent bouts of PTSD and explained 
that the crisis reminded him of the time he and other American soldiers 
were forced to take Vietnamese children away from their parents.
  Countless constituents have pointed out the parallels between this 
inhumane practice and the internment of Japanese Americans in the 1940s 
and even the concentration camps of World War II. Countless more wanted 
to commit to a call to action, but they don't know where to start or 
what could be done to combat the deplorable steps this administration 
has taken.
  While an active and engaged constituency is imperative to a strong 
democracy, this isn't their problem to fix. The primary solution to 
this humanitarian crisis must come from the administration that 
arbitrarily created the problem in the first place.
  Instead of stepping up to right this wrong and finally embrace the 
principles on which this country was founded, the President and his 
administration have spent the past week blaming the Democrats for the 
heartbreaking, life-changing mess that he has made.
  Their attempts to cast blame and distract attention from the 
emergency at hand does not change the facts. At least 2,300 children 
remain separated from their parents, living in unconscionable 
conditions, many behind cage-like fencing and unsure of when or if they 
will be reunited.

                              {time}  2000

  In fact, the administration still does not have a coherent process 
for reuniting families, nor have they indicated that there ever will be 
  If the President wants a legislative fix to this solution, we have 
one for him. Earlier this week, I joined 190 of my Democratic 
colleagues to introduce the Keep Families Together Act. Unlike the 
meaningless executive order the President signed, this bill carries 
real weight and, with it, real change by effectively ending this 
abhorrent policy of separating families seeking safety and opportunity.
  It clearly stipulates that no child is to be removed from their 
parent's custody, except under the most extreme of circumstance: 
instances of neglect, abuse, or risk of being trafficked. Beyond that, 
it establishes that no government agency can separate children from 
their parents for the sole purpose of deterring immigration to this 
  These children, the most innocent and vulnerable population, should 
never be used as leverage or a political bargaining chip. That is 
exactly what the President has tried to do.
  We will not stand by and let the administration get away with that. 
Neither will the American people. We will continue to fight for a 
fairer immigration system that is humane, smart, and cost effective. 
First and foremost, we must address this horror at the border.

[[Page H5492]]

  Mr. Speaker, I thank the gentlewoman for providing this time.
  Ms. CLARKE of New York. Mr. Speaker, I thank the gentleman from 
Illinois for bringing to the fore the concerns of children in our 
country who are looking at what is taking place on our border and not 
quite understanding, not grasping, the weight of why and how something 
like this could happen in this country, the home of the brave and the 
land of the free.
  We are really in a space in time right now where every American is 
really questioning what we value in terms of one another's humanity.
  Someone I know who has been a part of solution-driven policy is Ms. 
Carol Shea-Porter, the gentlewoman from the First Congressional 
District of New Hampshire.
  Mr. Speaker, I yield to the gentlewoman from New Hampshire (Ms. Shea-
Porter) at this time.
  Ms. SHEA-PORTER. Mr. Speaker, I thank the gentlewoman from New York 
for holding this Special Order.
  This is so important to speak to the Nation tonight, and we must keep 
raising our voices until the President backs off and fixes this.
  I am a Democrat, but I grew up in a conservative Republican family. 
What we all had in common was the idea that children were sacred--to be 
loved, to be cared for--and that families were the most important.
  I grew up in a large, large family with many, many kids and many 
adults around all the time. There wasn't any problem because we 
understood that the children were what brought us together.
  So here we are now. I am in Congress. I have been here for 8 years. 
Never, ever, did I think that I would have to stand on the floor of the 
House of Representatives and ask the President of the United States to 
stop locking babies up, to stop putting babies in jail.
  This plan, his executive order, is not going to solve this problem.
  How big is this problem? In addition to the more than 2,000 children 
and their parents--and we don't even know if the parents will ever be 
able to be reunited with their children because their parents have been 
deported--many of them--and separated, and they don't even know where 
their children are, which is just heartbreaking.
  I think we all saw those images the other night of little girls being 
brought under the cover of darkness, after midnight, in New York.
  Who is doing that to these little children who have done no harm to 
  These children are refugees. They are not trying to break any laws. 
They are refugees. They were fleeing from danger.
  Their parents carried them in their arms many, many miles through 
really treacherous terrain and conditions, to save them, just as so 
many of our forefathers and -mothers did to save their children. So it 
is hard for me to believe that we have to stand here and ask the 
President of the United States not to lock up these people.
  Now, there is a process, and everybody knows we need to have a 
process and a procedure at the border. But this is just cruel, 
inhumane, humiliating, and, frankly, has really hurt our image around 
the world. Everybody--everybody--in this time and age is now seeing 
these pictures of these little children and seeing their parents--they 
are refugees--who are being turned away and wondering: Whatever 
happened to the shining city on the hill? Shining city.
  Whatever happened to us that we would do something like this? And why 
are we doing this?
  I am getting so many phone calls in my office, and I know that 
everybody else is also. They are not coming from just Democrats or 
Republicans. They are coming from people who have children, people who 
love children, grandparents. They call up, they cry, and they say: Do 
something. Make this stop now. I can't stand to see the pictures 
anymore. What is happening down there?
  Well, what is happening here is that we have a President who has 
locked up children. We just need to say it.
  When that first happened, they said they weren't separating the 
  Then they said, well, they are separating the children, but they are 
not in cages.
  Then we saw the pictures that they actually are in cages. Then all of 
our hearts broke.
  This can't stay. This is a huge stain on this beautiful country that 
has been known as a place of refuge.
  We have been the place dreamt of by the world. Whe things have been 
terrible in their own corner of the world, when they have suffered from 
violence and they have suffered from war and all kinds of problems, 
they dreamt of coming to America. And Americans welcomed them.

  Something has changed. But not the American soul. It is not the 
American heart. It is not the American people.
  What has changed is the administration. We have a President who is 
indifferent to this; and he has surrounded himself with people who are, 
in the kindest words to say, indifferent to this.
  We have to ask ourselves: Why are they doing this? Against all of our 
moral values, against the outcry, against many people in their own 
party who are saying: This is just wrong. This can't be right. We have 
to stop.
  Why does the President continue to do this?
  Now they are talking about putting these children and their families 
on military bases. Again, you have to think: What are we planning on 
  Why are we not using the same tools that we have been using that were 
effective? Why do we have to imprison these little ones and their 
  And the conditions. They can say all they want about the conditions; 
but we know that if you are in a tent in Texas in this season, you are 
broiling hot. We also know that the conditions, where so many people 
are packed in together, make it difficult to keep people healthy.
  So these little children are not only coming exhausted from their 
journey, but they are arriving and then are having to deal with all of 
the other problems that they are seeing.
  The damage that we are doing to these children will not go away, 
ever. We have traumatized them.
  I am a social worker. I have worked with vulnerable children and 
their families, and I know that the scars that they are going to carry 
will impact them forever.
  It is not just impacting them. The pictures that have come out from 
these places are absolutely locked in people's minds. When we have some 
countries that are not friendly to America scolding us, something is 
really wrong.
  We have to insist that the President and his administration remember 
that this is not about the President and his administration; this is 
about our country. Not just his country. It is our country.
  This is about our history of being the place of refuge and about 
caring about people, welcoming them, and knowing that the refugees who 
have come to our country--we like to brag about some of the people who 
have arrived and brought incredible talents and advances in business 
and technology and science. We always say that is because we were the 
melting pot. We brought people in, and then they used their talents and 
helped grow our economy and grow our country. That was something that 
we bragged about.
  We still say: Let's go have Mexican food. Let's go have Italian food. 
We have embraced so much of this. It has just become a regular thing 
because we have been a melting pot.
  But we are not using that word anymore. Apparently, we don't feel 
that children who are born under very difficult circumstances have a 
right to seek refuge. We put those babies in jail.
  Let that sit on our conscience for a little bit. More importantly, 
let that sit on the conscience of the President of the United States.
  It isn't right. We know how wrong this is. When we see other 
countries talking about us and about our violations of human rights, we 
really have lost it.
  I beg the President tonight, I beg his administration, to open their 
hearts, to look at these children, and to recognize that, when their 
families came over, most of those families did not come over well 
educated and with a lot of money in their pockets. Their forefathers 
and -mothers, as did mine, came in search of a better life.
  They were desperate, they were penniless, and they took a chance. No, 
they didn't follow what we call proper channels because they weren't 
there. The channels were, if you could get

[[Page H5493]]

enough money to get in a boat or you could get enough money to walk, 
you came. Then you enriched this country with your presence, with your 
hard work, with your embracing of American values.
  Those American values are still there. The President needs to look 
around and recognize the damage that he is doing to our image, the 
damage that he is doing to those little ones, the damage that he is 
doing to their families, and the damage he is doing to us right now.
  He needs to stop, pause, and change direction.
  Ms. CLARKE of New York. Mr. Speaker, I thank the gentlewoman from New 
Hampshire for her impassioned plea, for really setting the table with 
regards to the type of child abuse that we have all witnessed and with 
which we are all trying to grapple at this time, and for appealing to 
the administration to correct course.
  Right now we are still in need of answers.
  Mr. Speaker, I yield to the gentlewoman from Illinois, Congresswoman 
Jan Schakowsky, to speak at this time.
  Ms. SCHAKOWSKY. Mr. Speaker, I want to thank my dear colleague and 
friend from New York for holding this moment so that we can all speak 
  Like so many of my fellow Americans, I have absolutely been 
distraught the last several days, many days. Many days crying.
  We are getting hundreds of calls to my office here in Washington, my 
office in the district. Many of those people are actually crying as 
they watch what is happening to children.
  I have to tell you that, in my life--and I am a mother and a 
grandmother and, for the last 20 years, a Member of this United States 
Congress--I have never seen such state-sponsored cruelty, state-
sponsored child abuse that we are seeing right now. There really isn't 
any other word for it. Child abuse.
  The President of the United States has announced some sort of a so-
called improvement, trying to fool an enraged Nation into thinking that 
they have reversed course on this issue of children coming, with their 
parent, across the border.

  In reality, the President's executive order enables the indefinite 
incarceration of immigrant families and has absolutely no plan to 
reunite babies who were ripped from their families, ripped from the 
arms of their parents.
  There are children who will still be in cages, Mr. Speaker. Frankly, 
I can't stand it. I wonder if you can stand it, Mr. Speaker.
  I am the daughter of immigrants. Neither of my parents was born here 
in the United States of America. They came here because Jews were being 
persecuted in Russia, and they fled here. They were able to get to this 
country. They were helped to be resettled in the city of Chicago by the 
Salvation Army, for whom I am ever grateful in my life.
  My grandfather made it by getting a horse and wagon, getting up 
before dawn and loading up the wagon with vegetables, and going through 
the alleys of Humboldt Park in Chicago and schlepping bags of potatoes 
over his shoulder, up stairs, and into apartments.
  He and my grandmother--who made clothes for all the children, 
including my mother--sent four children to college, because they worked 
so hard to fulfill the dream of taking care of their children and 
having a better life.

                              {time}  2015

  The parents who are fleeing across this border are desperate. They 
are leaving domestic abuse, abuse from gangs threatening the lives of 
their children, sometimes leaving some children behind and taking the 
ones that they can across this border, because they believed that they 
could seek asylum in this country. And that was the rule, that is the 
law, until the Attorney General of the United States, directed by the 
President, said: No, we are no longer considering a right of asylum for 
people who are victimized by domestic abuse or gang abuse. No, not 
anymore. We are going to arrest them. We are going to put them in jail.
  Now understand, I bet you--we haven't talked about this--that many of 
these children are not well, or their parents are not well, because 
this was a journey across countries, often walking for mile after mile 
after mile--dehydration, lack of proper nutrition--and now confined in 
places, separated from their parents. You have the children in one 
place and the parents in another place--in jails, essentially, and in 
cages for the children.
  What happens if there is a sickness that could pass across these 
  If a child dies, will we know? Will we be told?
  Many times, they try to keep even Members of Congress out of seeing 
exactly what is going on. Some of my colleagues--God bless them--have 
been able to visit and see.
  How come there are so few images?
  Because you can't even take your phone in there to take pictures of 
what is going on.
  What do we know about the reality of the life of these children, the 
suffering of these children, the screaming of these children, that is 
now on the cover of Time magazine?
  I am telling you, this is not the United States of America. Shame, 
shame on President Trump; shame on congressional Republicans for their 
heartless, radical immigration agenda; and shame on anyone who is 
silent in the face of this abuse of children. People are heartbroken, 
and now they have to rise up and say no to this.
  Mr. Speaker, I understand that there were mothers and children today 
at ICE in New York protesting. We need to see more of that.
  Ms. CLARKE of New York. Mr. Speaker, I thank the gentlewoman of the 
Ninth Congressional District of Illinois, a very prominent member of 
the Congressional Progressive Caucus, for really drilling down on a 
number of the issues that we all have to grapple with here in Congress 
as Members of the House of Representatives and of the U.S. Senate, that 
the administration under Donald Trump has to grapple with, and the 
American people.
  We really have to search our souls at this time and think about the 
children. We are talking about infants, who are breastfeeding, taken 
away from their mothers. We are talking about toddlers who are barely 
able to walk, who aren't potty-trained, who have to be stacked up with 
a whole bunch of other children who they have no relationship with.
  We have heard reports of children trying to console one another and 
being chastised because they are afraid. They only have one another to 
cling to, and no one is there to hug them, to soothe them, and to make 
them feel okay. This is unreal in the 21st century that we would sink 
to such depths to prove a point. And what is the point again? That you 
cannot come to the United States seeking refuge from violence, from 
death and destruction, as so many others have done in prior 
generations. These people, in particular, have no claim to asylum. That 
if you dare come and claim it, we will take your children, and we will 
extract from you even more pain than you left in the country that 
caused you to flee. I can't believe that this is the United States of 
America in the 21st century.
  Mr. Speaker, I yield to the gentlewoman from New York (Mrs. Carolyn 
B. Maloney), who has something that she would like to share, from the 
12th Congressional District of New York, and a member of the 
Congressional Progressive Caucus.
  Mrs. CAROLYN B. MALONEY of New York. Mr. Speaker, I thank my good 
friend and colleague from the great State of New York, Yvette Clarke, 
for organizing this incredibly important Special Order. Her mother and 
I served together on the city council. She was one of my best friends 
there, and Yvette is one of my best friends here. I would say that 
Yvette and Una really have been major leaders in the immigrant 
community, particularly from the Caribbean where her mother was born, 
and has been a leader on all forms of social justice to help immigrants 
in our country, not just this disaster that we are confronting right 
  Throughout history, we have been a nation to which the world's 
oppressed and vulnerable look to for hope; a beacon of light signaling 
a better life. The zero-tolerance policy put forth by the Trump 
administration utterly violates that tradition of values in this 
country. Families are fleeing unspeakable danger and oppression only to 
arrive at our borders and be torn away from each other.

[[Page H5494]]

  Yesterday, President Trump signed an executive order that halts 
segregated detention for parents and children. But we have to remember 
that the President created this crisis and always had the power to 
reverse course. Why didn't he do it sooner?
  Now the so-called solution seems to be that families will be detained 
together, but we don't know for how long and we don't know where.
  All today, I have been looking for the girls. Where are the girls? I 
found detention centers for boys, I found them for men, and I found 
them for babies. I still haven't gotten an answer where the young girls 
are. We are left with troubling questions. We don't know where they 
are, and we don't know how they are being treated.
  How and when will the thousands of children who have already been 
separated from their parents be reunited? Now I read that some parents 
have been sent back--deported--and their children are still here. How 
are we going to unite those families and bring them together?
  Last weekend, I joined members of the New York delegation and the New 
Jersey delegation, and we went to a detention center in Elizabeth, New 
Jersey. We had letters that said we could see the people who had been 
detained. It was signed by their lawyers and it was signed by the men. 
We went on Father's Day to meet with the fathers.
  First, they wouldn't let us in. They put papers on the wall in the 
windows so we couldn't look in. Then finally, we demanded and demanded, 
and they finally opened the doors and let us meet with five of the 
detainees. Four of them came to this country legally. They came seeking 
refuge, they came seeking asylum, and they went through the proper 
orders and the proper procedures. One did not. Because there was 
violence at the border, he came another way, and then turned themselves 
in to the authorities.
  Their stories were heartbreaking. Two of them broke down and 
literally cried. One father told a story that in his business, they 
were fishermen, his partner had been murdered. They were asking for 
them to pay them money, the gangs down in those areas. So the gang 
members went to the school looking for his daughter. He heard about it. 
She was going in the afternoon. He immediately took his daughter and 
fled and came to America.
  When he came to the border, they were then moved into a detention 
center. The authorities came to him at 3:00 in the morning and tore his 
daughter out of his arms. He did not know where she was, and he did not 
know how to contact her. When we talked to the warden, we asked the 
warden in Elizabeth, New Jersey, at this detention center, where his 
daughter was, and he didn't know. Then he said he would try to find his 
  Well, when I arrived today, I checked with my New Jersey colleagues. 
They had been in touch with the detention center and with the warden. 
They still had not found his daughter. This is disastrous. This is 
cruel. This is dangerous. We don't know where this particular child is, 
and we don't know where the thousands of others are. We don't know what 
kind of conditions these families are being held in, and we don't know 
how long they are being held. We need to know these answers, and we 
have to hold this administration accountable for completely ending this 
family separation policy that they initiated.
  Now, between May 5 and June 9, just 35 days, over 2,300 children have 
been separated from their parents at the southern border. Now, this, I 
think, is the worst action in our country regarding immigrants in the 
history of a country. And the other worst one is when we interned 
Japanese citizens that had fled and come to America. We interned them 
during World War II.
  But here we have over 2,000 children separated from their parents. 
That is 60 children per day for the past 35 days, who go to sleep at 
night not knowing when they will see their mothers or fathers again. 
Experts tell us that this is child abuse, and at the hands of our own 
  This cannot be who we are as Americans. It is why I joined Ranking 
Member Cummings and every Democrat on the Oversight and Government 
Reform Committee to demand a hearing on this reckless policy. We kept 
asking, and the Republican majority never granted it.
  So, today, the Women's Caucus held our own shadow hearing, where we 
heard from experts about health, about law, about humanity, and what we 
should be doing as a nation to help these children, not hurt them.
  I have signed on to Representative DeLauro's resolution condemning 
this horrific behavior as the child abuse that it is, and why I am an 
original cosponsor of the Keep Families Together Act, introduced by my 
colleague and friend, Jerry Nadler, which bans the separation of 
migrant children from their families. These children, these families, 
and this country deserve so much better. We will not stop fighting 
until families are made whole again.
  Mr. Speaker, I thank my distinguished colleague for her hard work on 
this issue, and so many others, that are important to our city of New 
York, our State, and our Nation.
  Ms. CLARKE of New York. Mr. Speaker, I thank the gentlewoman from New 
York for her sentiments as well. And as she has stated--I didn't state 
this in the beginning of my remarks--I happen to be a second generation 
American myself. My parents came from the beautiful island nation of 
Jamaica in the Caribbean as foreign students in the 1950s. They came to 
this Nation where they knew that their talent and their work ethic 
would enable them to reach their God-given potential, but could never 
have dreamt that they would live this long--they lived more time here 
in the United States than they ever did in the Caribbean--as 
naturalized Americans to see this type of behavior take place in our 
country on the auspices of our government.
  I look at my octogenarian parents, and I say to them, this is not who 
we are as a nation. And that we stand with all the people of goodwill 
in this Nation who see this behavior from the Trump administration as 
totally abhorrent. That we will not stand by idly and see this 
continue. We will be part of the resistance to make sure that these 
families' human dignity are restored, and that these children, where 
possible, can be returned to their families, at whatever cost it may 
be. It may mean that we will have to do DNA testing, or it may mean 
that we will have to hire private investigators. Whatever the cost, it 
is up to us to make these families whole.

                              {time}  2030

  They only came to this Nation seeking refuge, and what we gave them 
was heartache, was pain. What we have given these children is trauma, 
is pain, is heartache.
  What we are hearing of reports now from some of these privately 
hired-out contractors is children being abused, which was inevitable 
because, indeed, we are irresponsible in the behavior that this 
administration took. These organizations were not vetted. They tried to 
do all of this in the dark, and now we all pay a very dear price.
  We have all been stripped this much, a little bit more, of our 
humanity due to the behavior of the Trump administration, Donald Trump, 
and his Cabinet members who saw fit to hide this from the American 
people and to treat human beings as though they didn't deserve the 
human dignity that all human beings on this planet deserve.
  So, Mr. Speaker, I want to thank you for giving us the time to share 
the perspective of the Congressional Progressive Caucus.
  Mr. Speaker, I would like to thank all of my colleagues who came to 
the floor this evening. We stand shoulder to shoulder, united with the 
American people to make this right, to end this zero-tolerance policy, 
and to push back at every turn on the dehumanization of mankind, 
womankind, childkind across this globe that still regard this Nation as 
a shining city on a hill.
  Mr. Speaker, I yield back the balance of my time
  Ms. JACKSON LEE. Mr. Speaker, we have a humanitarian crisis at our 
  A crisis initiated by an administration that purports to be the 
champion of `family values' but whose actions do not value families.
  Yesterday, after much deserved criticism and push back, President 
Trump signed an executive order that modified his ``zero-tolerance'' 
policy by detaining parents and children apprehended by the U.S. 
Customs and Border Protection together, possibly on military bases, 
instead of separating them.
  The executive order, however, is silent regarding where the families 
would be detained

[[Page H5495]]

or whether children will continue to be separated from their parents 
while the facilities to hold them are located or built.
  We have so much work to do, because even in ending the heinous 
practice of separating families, there are still many legal and 
practical obstacles.
  Kenneth Wolfe, a spokesman for the Administration for Children and 
Families, a division of the Department of Health and Human Services, 
initially stated that ``there will not be a grandfathering of existing 
  Mr. Wolfe was later to be corrected by Brian Marriott, Senior 
Director of Communications for the Department of Health and Human 
Services, who stated that Mr. Wolfe had ``misspoke'' and insisted that 
``it is still very early, and we are awaiting further guidance on the 
  Mr. Marriot then said that ``reunification is always the goal'' and 
that the agency ``is working toward that'' for the children separated 
from their families because of President Trump's policy.
  While there is a possibility that the children could be connected 
with other family members or sponsors living in the United States, it 
is not necessarily the parent they were separated from at the border.
  This raises the heart-breaking questions of what happens to the more 
than 2,300 children who have already been separated from their parents 
under the president's ``zero tolerance'' policy?
  We have all heard the wailing of detained immigrant children on audio 
tapes and we have all seen the heartbreaking pictures.
  The latest reports suggest that very young infants, some as young as 
3 months old, are being separated and being placed in ``tender age 
  This is outrageous.
  This past weekend, I was at a processing center in McAllen, Texas and 
the Southwest Key Programs' Casa Padre which houses 1,500 children, 
most of them separated from their parents.
  I saw people huddled in cages.
  I saw children who certainly needed to be with their parents.
  Like nine-month old baby Roger, who I held in my arms.
  Or Leah, a one year old, separated from her grandmother and her 
sister, whose love for her would have provided comfort and protection.
  As the Founder and Chair of the Congressional Children's Caucus and 
as a parent and grandparent, this is unacceptable.
  Studies have documented that when young children are forcibly removed 
from their parents, the traumatic experience engenders long-term 
negative effects on their physical and mental health and well-being 
  In one famous experiment in Romania, doctors considered the results 
later in life of those children separated from their parents.
  The activity in the children's brains was much lower than expected.
  ``If you think of the brain as a lightbulb,'' Charles Nelson, a 
pediatrics professor at Harvard Medical School said, ``it's as though 
there was a dimmer that had reduced them from a 100-watt bulb to 30 
  The children, who had been separated from their parents in their 
first two years of life, scored significantly lower on IQ tests later 
in life.
  Their fight-or-flight response system appeared permanently broken.
  Stressful situations that would usually prompt physiological 
responses in other people--increased heart rate, sweaty palms--would 
provoke nothing in the children.
  The effects of these traumatic experiences--especially in children 
who have already faced serious adversity--are unlikely to be short-
lived, and can likely last a lifetime.
  The stressed endured by a child in custody is exacerbated when the 
child does not speak a language that is not English or Spanish.
  Although the government has a legal obligation to provide reasonable 
language services to unaccompanied minors, many children arriving to 
the U.S. speak indigenous languages and have little or no translation 
assistance provided by the U.S. government.
  The last time this nation had policies that promoted the forcible 
separation of children from newly arrived persons was slavery: a dark 
chapter in this nation's history that we should not revisit.
  Today, the parents of these thousands of children will not be 
deterred from finding ways to reunite with their children, even 
reentering the United States under the threat of imprisonment.
  It would be unconscionable to prosecute parents under these 
  The level of callousness displayed by this administration towards 
those seeking refuge within our borders is shocking and the world is 
taking note.
  Yesterday, Theresa May, the Prime Minister of our closest ally Great 
Britain, denounced the ``zero-tolerance'' policy on the floor of the 
House of Commons.
  His Holiness Pope Francis said the ``zero-tolerance'' policy is 
contrary to Catholic values.
  The Most Reverend Bishop Michael Curry stated that for Christians, 
Jesus of Nazareth is the standard of conduct for your life--he tells 
us--``love God and love thy neighbor.''
  However, the Trump Administration has forgotten that.
  The United States Secretary of Homeland Security Kirstjen Nielsen 
defended this egregious policy.
  Attorney General Jeff Sessions used Romans 13 (submit to rulers) to 
justify the ``zero-tolerance'' policy.
  It is outrageous to use the Bible--Romans 13--to justify this policy.
  However, many used Romans 13 to justify horrors in history such as 
slavery and Nazism.
  The more operative biblical passages should be, Matthew 7--the golden 
rule--or Matthew 25--I was a stranger and you welcomed me (``least of 
  National policy regarding immigration legislation should not create 
greater fear for families already traumatized by intolerable conditions 
in their home countries.
  U.S. immigration policy should not deter refugees from seeking asylum 
within our borders.
  I am thankful to the 60 members of the United States Senate of 
Congress who said enough is enough to the despicable ``zero-tolerance'' 
  I am thankful to the Republican governors of Maryland and 
Massachusetts who ended their contribution of National Guard 
deployments because they too are saying ``not in my name.''
  But there is still more work to be done.
  We should welcome mothers carrying their babies to a safe haven and 
ensure the safety of their children.
  The Trump administration is utterly failing in its basic duty to 
treat all persons with dignity and compassion.
  Rather, it is making a mockery of our national values and reputation 
as a champion of human rights.
  We are a great country with a long and noble tradition of providing 
sanctuary to the persecuted and oppressed.
  And it is in that spirit that we should act.
  We can do it; after all, we are Americans.