WASHINGTON — Rep. Judy Chu (D-Monterey Park) on June 26 introduced an amendment to H.R. 3401, the supplemental border appropriations bill, that would prohibit any funds made available by the bill from being used to operate Fort Sill, a former Japanese American internment camp, as a detention center for minor children.
This amendment is a response to the Trump Administration’s plans to relocate about 1,400 migrant children to the fort. Chu issued the following statement:
“Donald Trump should not be detaining children. Period. This is a policy he has implemented by choice, under the cruel assumption that abusing children already here will deter future immigrants from coming at all.
“Now, he is trying to take his cruelty one step further by bringing back relics of one of the most shameful periods in our history: the imprisonment of innocent Japanese Americans during WWII. Japanese Americans understand the costs of xenophobia. And so it is particularly painful for those who have endured this prejudice to once again see this facility used to deprive innocent individuals of their basic human rights.
“Donald Trump should not receive one single dollar to be used for placing immigrant children in unlicensed facilities. And this amendment goes further by preventing him from dredging up the ghosts of xenophobic policies past.”
Chu, chair of the Congressional Asian Pacific American Caucus, was part of a congressional delegation that visited detention facilities in El Paso and elsewhere this week to get a first-hand look at the living conditions. The visit coincided with news from Pro Publica about a secret, 9,500-member Facebook group where current and former Border Patrol agents “joked about the deaths of migrants, discussed throwing burritos at Latino members of Congress visiting a detention facility in Texas on Monday and posted a vulgar illustration depicting Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez …”
“These CBP (Customs and Border Protection) agents cannot be trusted to work with detained migrant families or represent the United States government in any capacity,” Chu tweeted. “CAPAC joins (the Congressional) Hispanic Caucus in calling for these officers to be removed from their posts and asking DHSOIG (Department of Homeland Security, Office of Inspector General) to launch a full investigation.”
Regarding the treatment of detainees, Chu tweeted, “‘If you want water, just drink from a toilet.’ That’s what Border Patrol told one thirsty woman we met on today’s Dems at the Border trip. These are the same CBP personnel who threatened to throw burritos at members of Congress. Changes must be made.”
She added, “Another woman detained by CBP has epilepsy but cannot even get the medication she needs. The humanitarian crisis is the one our government is creating.”