Pelosi Floor Speech in Support of the Humanitarian Standards For Individuals In Customs And Border Protection Custody Act

July 25, 2019
Press Release

Washington, D.C. – Speaker Nancy Pelosi delivered remarks on the Floor of the House of Representatives in support of H.R. 3239, the Humanitarian Standards For Individuals In Customs And Border Protection Custody Act.  Below are the Speaker’s remarks:

Speaker Pelosi.  Mr. Speaker, let us salute Congressman Ruiz, Chairman Nadler, Chairwoman Lofgren, Chairwoman Underwood, Chairwoman Slotkin, and Members and thank you, my colleague, Congresswoman Kuster, for the recognition.  These Members are — followed facts, gone to the border and raised a drumbeat on behalf of the children.  I want to add to that, Congresswoman Escobar who has been so great on all of this.

The humanitarian situation at the border challenges the conscience of our [country], yet the Trump Administration has chosen to approach the situation with cruelty instead of compassion.  Children sleeping on concrete floors, children eating frozen and inedible food, children being denied basic sanitation.

As the Gospel of Matthew says, ‘When the Son of Man comes in all his glory,’ he will speak to the nations gathered before him.  You all know the Gospel of Matthew: ‘When I was hungry.’

As the American Medical Association writes: ‘Conditions in CBP facilities, including’ – whatever, I’ll put it in the record, you’ve heard about the open toilets and the rest.

‘It is well known that childhood trauma and adverse childhood experiences created an inhumane treatment often create negative health impacts that can last an individual’s entire lifespan.’

The American Academy of Pediatrics led a joint letter: ‘The tragic deaths of children in CBP custody are evidence for why timely, appropriate medical and mental health screening are so crucial.’

Today, with Congressman Ruiz’s Humanitarian Standards for Individuals in Customs and Border Protection Custody Act, we are taking a strong step with that to safeguard children and respect their families.

I’m going to submit the rest of my statement for the record in the interest of time.

But I know you’ve heard it over and over again, and Mr. Speaker it’s no use talking.  We have to act.  We’ve sent the money, we’ve paid attention, now we have to set the standards that must be met for humanitarian — hygiene, health care and the rest.  And I thank Mr. Ruiz for bringing his experience in public health, as a doctor, as someone who has dealt with these crises in other parts of the world.  We’re blessed to have his service at this time, especially for the good the children.

With that, I yield back the balance of my time.