Chairman Lindsay Graham
Ranking Member Dianne Feinstein
Committee on the Judiciary
United State Senate
Washington DC 20510
Dear Chairman Graham and Ranking Member Feinstein:
The AFL-CIO opposes the Secure and Protect Act of 2019 (S. 1494), legislation that would erode legal protections for vulnerable migrants, expand the use of family detention, and fail to deter forced migration. We urge you to instead uphold or strengthen current protections for refugees and asylum seekers and address the root causes of migration flows.
The situation along the border requires a lawful and humane response. Children and families awaiting the legal proceedings to which they are entitled, should not be subjected to discredited detention procedures. Wherever possible, children should be released to the custody of family members while their cases are being processed. Moreover, appropriate frontline responders must have the facilities, resources, training, and support needed to meet acute and evolving needs.
This crisis must not lead to the further expansion of our massive and highly controversial private detention system, as alternatives to detention such as intensive supervision are both more humane and cost effective.
A comprehensive approach to the refugee situation must assess the root causes of large-scale displacement, including the long-term impact of U.S. policies. Central American nations and others are suffering from acute problems with violence, lawlessness and a lack of decent work opportunities. People who have survived trauma or persecution must have a realistic chance to seek asylum or be designated as refugees.
We urge you to oppose this misguided bill and instead pursue more productive and humane responses to the challenges at our border and the denial of rights to millions of people whose labor helps our country prosper.
William Samuel, Director