July 27, 2019

At U.S.-Mexico Border, Kaine And Hirono Condemn Trump Administration’s “Cruelty And Incompetence”

Photos of Kaine and Hirono’s visit can be found here.

Video of Kaine and Hirono’s press conference can be found here. 

WASHINGTON, D.C. – On Friday, July 26, U.S. Senators Tim Kaine and Mazie Hirono toured border patrol stations in El Paso and Clint, Texas and visited Casa del Refugiado, a shelter run by Annunciation House that provides migrant families and other refugees with meals, showers, and a safe place to say. After speaking directly to families who had fled violence, Kaine and Hirono highlighted the cruelty and incompetence of Trump Administration policies that have separated families, made it harder for refugees to apply for asylum, and mistreated children at the border. 

“The people we talked to all have little kids, and they talked about what they want for their kids. They want an education, they wanted freedom from violence and drugs. Mazie asked me to ask some questions: ‘What do you want for yourself?’ and usually they had a positive vision. ‘I want education for my daughter;’ ‘I want the ability to go to school or study;’ ‘I want to be reunited with my kids’ father in Maryland.’ But I asked one person what he wanted and he just said, ‘To not go back. I just can’t go back. I can’t go back to a life that is so violent that I fear for my child,” Kaine said.

“Making it hard for people to apply for asylum in a nation where that’s been a key value. Separating families. Separating families in a way where there’s sort of a nexus of cruelty and incompetence where we separated them and assumed that people wouldn’t care so much that we didn’t even maintain good enough records to be able to reconnect them, so there’s still so many children that haven’t been able to be connected to their parents. Using words of hatred against immigrants to try to make them believe that this great nation of immigrants is now something else…This Administration from long before inauguration day, during the campaign, but then since inauguration day, just in one step after the next, has pursued a harshly anti-immigrant agenda that is painful,” Kaine continued.

“People are going to continue to come from the Northern Triangle countries to escape violence and murder. They want a better life for themselves and their families just like any other immigrant family. Certainly that was the case for me when my mother brought me to this country so that she and her three children could have a new start and better life,” Hirono said

“And what does our country do? What does our President do? He wants to make it as hard as possible not only to get here, but to stay here. And then to institute all kinds of programs including one where some people are sent to Mexico to wait out their asylum hearings in a jurisdiction where it’s very likely that their case will be rejected. This is a rigged system, this is a dysfunctional system, this is an inhumane system. We have to do better,” Hirono continued

Kaine and Hirono have been outspoken against the Trump Administration’s treatment of immigrant children. Both Senators are cosponsors of the Stop Cruelty to Migrant Children Actlegislation that would create clear, non-negotiable standards for the treatment of children in the United States’ care, including ensuring that children are treated humanely and moved out of detention centers and into community-based settings as soon as possibleKaine and Hirono have also cosponsored the Central American Reform and Enforcement Act to tackle the root causes that are forcing many families from Central America to seek refuge in the U.S. Earlier this week, Kaine and Hirono participated in a hearing where they spoke with medical, policy, and legal experts who have witnessed terrible conditions at the border.