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News > U.S.

Sen. Menendez Asks to Use Border Funds for Humanitarian Goals

  • Senator Robert Menendez on Capitol Hill in Washington, U.S., July 16, 2019.

    Senator Robert Menendez on Capitol Hill in Washington, U.S., July 16, 2019. | Photo: Reuters

Published 20 July 2019

U.S. Senators say the US$4.5 billion approved for the border region must go to 'humanitarian' purposes.

Democratic Senator Bob Menendez called on the U.S. President Donald Trump to use the US$4.5 billion emergency border fund approved by Congress in June for "humanitarian purposes."


'Mexico Is Not Ready to Be Safe Third Country', Ambassador Says

"We have to force this issue with the president. We have to try to limit the funds and use them to stop this humanitarian crisis. We must raise our voice," said the legislator Friday.

Menendez was part of a group of 13 Democratic senators who recently visited three detention centers in McAllen, Texas, and held meetings with local human rights organizations. During the outing the lawmakers heard from several migrants and asylum seekers who fled Central America out of fear of violence in their home countries in the region.

"I met a Guatemalan mother with a three-month-old girl in her arms who traveled for six weeks to get here. When asked about the reasons for her flight, she told me that they were killing so many people [in her village] that she was afraid that something will happen to her little one," Menendez said.

A Salvadoran woman told the group of 13 she left her home country because "children are stolen and sold" there.

"These are the kind of tragedies these families are in," the Democratic senator commented.

In a new attempt to implement his hard-line policy on immigration, the Trump administration launched on Sunday raids on ten cities to deport "thousands" of undocumented immigrants.

The move comes after Congress approved  US$4.59 billion in federal funds for "humanitarian" aid at the border to improve the horrendous conditions at containment camps where migrants are being held indefinately after being captured.

Besides frightening people in the U.S. the new wave of deportation threats has increased fear and uncertainty for Mexicans, as well.

In Zoyatla, a Mexican town in which almost 70 percent of its population has lived in the U.S. for decades, one mother, is very concerned about her migrant children that she hasn't seen in 30 years.

"They tell me they are fine but ... I'm afraid they are wrong or something is going to happen to them because they do not have papers," Caritina Velez told reporters.

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