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Stephen Wilson, ACLU of Texas, 713-870-4107, media@aclutx.org

September 6, 2019

EL PASO, Texas — Today, the U.S. House Judiciary Committee's Immigration and Citizenship subcommittee convened in El Paso to hear testimony from local experts regarding the current administration’s policies on immigration and border security and the impact of these policies on border communities. Shaw Drake, Policy Counsel for the ACLU Border Rights Center, testified before members of Congress, urging them to overhaul federal border policy and rein in the power and abusive culture of Customs and Border Protection (CBP) agents.

"The Trump administration’s immigration policies have a clear end game: keep immigrants of color out of the United States by violating constitutional and human rights and basic decency,” Drake stated in his written testimony. “President Trump has advanced this agenda through inhumane and often illegal border policies.”

Drake proposed that Congress and the administration change course, including by:

  • Instituting CBP oversight and accountability: CBP is the nation’s largest law enforcement agency and persists in violating its own rules and regulations. CBP must improve conditions in its detention facilities and ensure that no migrant is held in its custody for longer than 72 hours.
  • Restoring asylum protections: DHS should end the policy of “metering,” rescind the Migrant Protection Protocols, and revoke changes that attempt to ban asylum eligibility for certain classes of border crossers.
  • Ending family separation and border prosecutions: CBP officials should not have discretion to separate families, and Congress should repeal the laws that criminalize border-crossing.
  • Cutting CBP’s bloated budget: The current administration has allocated billions of dollars to the construction of border walls, new technology and agents, and increased surveillance at the border. DHS should not receive one more dime to further militarize the region and invade border residents’ privacy.

"U.S. immigration and border policies must be rooted in civil liberties and human rights,” Drake stated. “This includes providing due process to those arriving in the United States, safeguarding access to asylum protections, ensuring that federal agencies are accountable and transparent, and ending border militarization that harms border residents and migrants.”

Read the complete written testimony for ACLU Border Rights Center.

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