While some aspects of immigration reform seem to face a stalemate in the House of Representatives, LIRS is encouraged to see a bipartisan effort from Congress to address the problems faced by our families, communities, and congregations along the border.
Representatives Steve Pearce (R-NM) and Beto O’Rourke (D-TX) recently introduced the Border Enforcement Accountability, Oversight and Stakeholder Engagement Act of 2014 (H.R. 4303). The bill calls for more accountability within Customs and Border Protection (CBP) by increasing training within the agency on civil and human rights, vulnerable populations, appropriate use of force, de-escalation tactics and increasing engagement between CBP and border community stakeholders. The bill also includes a locator for migrants to be located by their loved ones, similar to one currently used by Immigration and Customs Enforcement.
LIRS is particularly concerned about harm to vulnerable migrants such as asylum seekers and unaccompanied children, who already arrive to our shores alone, traumatized and often afraid. We also continue to hear from civil, human rights, and faith leaders that the “enforcement only” approach to our nation’s immigration laws has had devastating impacts on border communities. Moreover, this bill comes at a particularly crucial time given recent findings of increasing complaints of CBP abuses going unanswered.
We applaud H.R. 4303’s model of community engagement between CBP and the communities impacted by its policies. We hope Congress follows this example of bipartisanship to address other aspects of our nation’s broken immigration system.
Please consider taking a moment to contact your representative through LIRS’s Action Center to encourage them to enact meaningful and compassionate immigration reform that follows LIRS’s principle of ensuring the humane and just enforcement of our immigration laws.