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Migrant Children Crisis: Democrats Agree $4.5bn Aid for Migrants At Border

WASHINGTON – Democrats in the US House of Representatives have approved $4.5bn (£3.5bn) in humanitarian aid for the southern border, BBC reported Wednesday.
Several migrant deaths, coupled with reports of “severely neglected” children at a Texan border patrol station, have helped shape the debate.
But the bill faces a tough path through the Republican-controlled Senate.
It is considering a rival bill with fewer restrictions on how border agencies can spend the money.
The Democrats’ version, in contrast, contains several strict rules setting out that the funds can be used for humanitarian aid only, and “not for immigration raids, not detention beds, not a border wall”, a statement from House appropriations committee chair Nita Lowey said.
The bill was toughened up after some Democrats expressed concern over providing extra funds for agencies involved in the current situation, including those enforcing President Donald Trump’s “zero tolerance” policy which leads to migrant children being separated from their parents.
With the extra safeguards, it passed 230 to 195, roughly along party lines – with a few Democrats still refusing to back it.
The White House said President Trump would be advised to veto the House bill if it landed on his desk “in its current form”.
The administration accused the Democrats of seeking to “take advantage of the current crisis”.
Mr Trump’s “zero tolerance” policy was announced in early 2018. By prosecuting adults who crossed the border illegally, it had the effect of separating children from their parents.
Despite a court order requiring families to be reunited, more than a year later hundreds remained in government shelters, to which the public – including journalists and rights activists – had little access.
But lawyers were recently given access to one facility in Clint, Texas, by a judge. They reported appalling conditions inside, in which children under 10 were caring for infants, and massive overcrowding.
Children were “locked up in horrific cells where there’s an open toilet in the middle of the room” where they ate and slept, one of the lawyers told the BBC.
Separately, a legal argument from the government that access to soap and a toothbrush were not necessarily “required” has drawn much criticism.
Those feeling were re-ignited on Tuesday following a report that many of the children had been returned to the Clint facility just days after being transferred out amid the public outcry.
“This situation is child abuse,” Democratic Speaker Nancy Pelosi said. “It is an atrocity that violates every value we have, not only as Americans, but as moral beings.”
But her republican counterpart in the House, Kevin McCarthy, responded that “after weeks of doing nothing, and denying that a crisis exists, they are offering legislation that is misguided, and is purely political.”
(Sahar News Monitoring Desk)

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