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What we can do right now about the immigration crisis:

I'm deeply disturbed by the humanitarian crisis at our southern border. The conditions are deplorable – a violation of basic human decency and standard morals. The policies and practices of the Trump administration have resulted in the gross neglect and abuse of children, families and pregnant and nursing mothers. It's absolutely critical that we take action to stop these human rights abuses, establish accountability, and restore American values in the process.

To be sure, we're experiencing a greater influx of migrants reaching our border, but the Trump administration is proactively choosing to detain people instead of pursuing reasonable, effective and legal alternatives. The administration is holding over 13,000 youth in detention—the highest number recorded—and they are subject to horrific conditions.

The Democrats in the House passed a bill with my strong support that provided resources which would have had an immediate impact on the conditions at the southern border. Our bill provided emergency funding for food, water, sanitation items, blankets, medical services, and safe transportation. It also held Customs and Border Protection accountable by requiring them to establish standards and protocols to ensure the health and safety of those in detention, and mandated improved standards for medical care, nutrition, hygiene, and facilities. It also set strict timelines for how long immigrant youth can be detained in shelters and requires monthly reporting on unaccompanied children. Critically, this legislation prohibited any funding from being used for ICE detention, Trump's border wall, or anything not specifically outlined in the legislation.

But President Trump and Mitch McConnell would not support guaranteed improved conditions for those being detained, and instead weakened the House-passed bill. It removed humanitarian protections such as limiting the period of time an unaccompanied child can spend at an influx facility. I could not support the watered-down Senate bill, and voted no.

Make no mistake: we can't solve the crisis at our border if we don't address the reasons that so many citizens are fleeing their home countries.

The risk of the journey to America is not as great as the risk to themselves and their families at home: drug gangs, war, a lack of shared resources, and destabilized economies; threats of violence, rape, sexual assault, and death. They're turning to us for protection, asylum, and a better life.

We were beginning to see a real positive impact in Guatemala, Honduras, and El Salvador thanks to State Department funding of nongovernmental organizations that had been working to improve conditions and increase job opportunities for their people — until President Trump cut this critical funding. We need to restore and increase funding for programs that will stabilize these countries and create prosperity for their people.

We should also examine and invest in a plan similar to The Marshall Plan that would restore government stability and develop economic opportunity in these countries similar to what was done in Western Europe after World War II. We need to solve systemic issues in order to truly reform our immigration system.

It's beyond time for Congress and the president to pass comprehensive immigration reform, which is the only course of action that will result in real, long-term solutions to our immigration crisis. We must protect these immigrant youth, DREAMers, and vulnerable migrants.

But in the near-term, we can make a big difference by supporting the organizations who are helping on the front lines of this crisis today!

That's why I'm asking you to join me in making a contribution to a valuable organization, Kids in Need of Defense (KIND). KIND's attorneys work pro-bono to ensure that unaccompanied children don't appear in court without legal representation. Your contribution will help cover court fees and other necessary expenses and ensure that the most vulnerable in our system have legal support.

A few months before the 2018 election, I was so disgusted with the separation of children at our border that I decided to pause fundraising for my personal campaign and call on my supporters to contribute to KIND instead.

Together, we raised nearly $10,000 for KIND and I know we can reach or exceed that number now. In fact, I’ll match the first $5,000 in contributions. Every single dollar that we raise together will make a positive impact in a detained child's life.

Please help me spread the word about the important work that KIND is doing and make a small (or large!) contribution today.

Across the country, decent, patriotic people of all political stripes are banding together to make a difference and you can count on me to stay in this fight. I will continue to stand up to Trump's cruel policies and fight to make immigration reform a reality.

Join me by giving KIND more resources to fight back on the ground.

Thank you and stay strong. Your involvement makes all of the difference.


Posted on June 29, 2019.

As Independent as Oregon.

Peter DeFazio's common-sense proposals aim to create good-paying jobs, expand access to affordable health care and develop options outside of the for-profit marketplace, restore economic and educational opportunities, hold government accountable and tip the scales of inequality back in favor of hard-working Oregonians.

Meet Peter