Menendez on Administration’s Announcement To Address Refugee Crisis at the Border

Menendez on Administration’s Announcement To Address Refugee Crisis at the Border

WASHINGTON, DC - U.S. Senator Robert Menendez issued the following release in reaction to the Administration's announcement to contract with detention facilities to hold families near the Southwest border.

"I appreciate that the administration is taking a hard look at addressing the root causes of this crisis and putting resources into programs. Funding for development and security in the region, however, have been consistently underfunded and we are playing catch-up in the midst of a crisis. While the announcement of new funding is welcome news, I still think we are falling short in terms of meeting the crisis that has developed in our front yard. I'll be holding hearings on this issue and expect that we are going to need to consider wholesale approach - in coordination with regional governments - similar to how we approached the crisis in Colombia in the 90s."

Sen. Menendez also expressed grave concerns with the announcement that they will open new family detention facilities:

"I don't think children should be locked up in jail. There is consensus that we must quickly address this refugee and humanitarian crisis, but to say that a child who is apprehended at the border with their parent must remain locked up throughout their judicial proceeding is simply a step too far. To better address this refugee and humanitarian crisis, we need to look at smart 21st century technological solutions. Alternatives to detention programs have been used effectively by DHS to monitor families, the programs have a 96 percent success rate in making sure people show up for their proceedings, and they are extremely cost effective. We need to respect due process. It's unlikely that we'll be able to get the kids the legal and social services they need while they are detained. We need to make sure that families have a chance to make their case before a judge.

"Using up our nation's resources to jail families will not be a deterrent -these kids are fleeing violence and are willing to risk their lives to cross the border. The threat of a jail will not stop these families from coming here. Instead, we need to fully address the root causes of the crisis."

Yesterday, Senator Menendez led a delegation in unveiling a plan of recommendations to address this humanitarian and refugee crisis along our southern border and in Central America.