Last week, the House of Representatives passed a $4.6 billion emergency bill to provide care for the families and children remaining in facilities at the U.S.-Mexico border. The bill was first introduced and passed in the Senate to placate the ongoing public debacle regarding the conditions of prospective immigrants and asylum-seekers currently being processed by American immigration authorities.
The House and the Senate have clarified that the funds will not be put towards the border wall or other border security measures. President Trump has not indicated whether he will sign or veto the bill, but public dismay over the treatment of immigrants at the facilities may be enough to garner the president’s signature.
The sense of urgency behind the bill largely stems from the living conditions and treatment at the location in Clint, Texas. However, the allegedly horrific conditions at Clint were called into question by the testimony of a Border Patrol official. Furthermore, the situation at Clint was one of the most extreme examples, meaning that it is not necessarily representative of the conditions at other facilities.
Yet, the changes outlined in the bill would force the Department of Homeland Security to have upgraded standards and provide translators to the people in contact with law enforcement. The desire for the bill also increased following the resignation of Customs and Border Protection Chief Operating Officer John Sanders. The motive behind his resignation is still unclear, but the growing public debate about immigration enforcement may have played a significant role in Sanders’ decision.
The White House strongly criticized the original House bill for its lack of funding for border security needs and beds to allow room for more migrants. However, the Trump administration has signaled greater support for the new Senate version, making it likely that the president will ultimately sign the bill.