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Beds at the 'temporary' shelter in Homestead, Florida. US HHS photo.

The House of Representatives passed a $4.5 billion emergency bill to fund detention of undocumented immigrants and asylum seekers yesterday, but the bill's demands that government meet minimal standards of humane treatment led Donald Trump to threaten a veto, because no one puts cruelty in a corner. The bill passed largely along party lines, 230-195, with four progressive Democratic first-term representatives opposing it because they believed the machinery of the New Cruelty shouldn't get a single dollar more. Trump prefers a bill already passed by the Senate, which would provide a similar level of funding $4.6 billion), but lacks the House bill's crazy radical requirements that migrants be held in less horrifying conditions than have been reported in the last week.


The next step for the legislation will be a showdown with Republicans, who insist Donald Trump should be unencumbered by even the slightest humanitarian concerns. Congress is set to take its annual Fourth of July recess next week, and the Department of Health and Human Services, whose Office of Refugee Resettlement runs the nation's network of baby jails, says its funding will run out in the next week. After which we suppose maybe ORR would ...? Honestly, nobody's saying -- we'll assume there are no plans to actually release the kids to parents or other relatives, so perhaps they'll just be told not to eat. HHS has already eliminated recreation, education, and legal assistance at its "shelters," so the next logical step might be to put all the kids in a freezer and hope they thaw out later.

The amendments added to the funding bill are aimed at reining in some of the abuses in the treatment of migrants being held by Customs and Border Protection (CBP) as well as in HHS's baby jails, which are supposed to temporarily house minors until they can be placed with sponsors, although those placements have slowed drastically under Team Trump, contributing to the current crowding.

The Washington Post outlines what those wild eyed open-borders Democrats placed in the bill to slightly limit the madness being inflicted at the border:

House Appropriations Committee Chairwoman Nita M. Lowey (D-N.Y.) unveiled changes to the bill Tuesday morning that would require CBP to establish new health and safety standards for migrants in its custody, as well as protocols for dealing with migrant surges, within 30 days. The changes would also limit children's stays at "influx" shelters used by the Department of Health and Human Services to no more than 90 days and require the department to report to Congress on their use.

Additional changes Lowey unveiled Tuesday afternoon would bar HHS shelter contractors who do not provide adequate accommodations, food and personal items, such as toothbrushes, as well as routine medical care, schooling, leisure activities, and other basic services.

Clearly, the House has gone mad with its nutty demands. What next, insisting that toddlers have diapers? Why are Democrats so bent on Pampering the little babies who are invading our once-great nation?

In addition to the outrageous humanitarian conditions imposed on spending for baby jails, the House bill would also restore "hundreds of millions of dollars in aid to El Salvador, Guatemala and Honduras that was cut off by the Trump administration," as if stabilizing conditions in those countries could possibly reduce the number of people fleeing them. Only a raving Marxist could think such a thing.

Rep. Pramila Jayapal (D-Washington), chair of the House Progressive Caucus, said she had "tremendous apprehensions" about giving the Trump machine any more money, but she ultimately backed the bill once the measures aimed at helping detained kids were added:

"I don't even know how to describe the idea that we have to tell them: You've got to provide food and water to these kids," she said. "But that's what we're doing."

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi called on Democrats to support the bill since it would give basic decency a better chance in coming negotiations with the Senate and White House, telling a closed meeting of the Dem caucus,

"The stronger the vote, the bigger the message to the Senate," she said, adding: "Think about children being in their parents' arms. Think about what our values are as a country, and not about each of us."

Even so, four first-term Democrats -- Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (New York), Ilhan Omar (Minnesota), Ayanna Pressley (Massachusetts), and Rashida Tlaib (Michigan) -- voted against the bill on the grounds that concentration camps shouldn't get a penny more. Ocasio-Cortez said her constituents were squarely against funding the detention centers, although she also added, of those who passed the bill, "I don't slight my colleagues. I don't think anybody's making a bad decision here."

The Senate bill, which doesn't include the House's nutty insistence on minimal human rights, does at least have one provision we hope will be kept in any compromise spending bill. It would roll back the current information-sharing policy between ORR and Immigration and Customs Enforcement, which is one reason for the backlog of kids being held in ORR custody. That policy has resulted in ICE rounding up undocumented family members of people applying to sponsor kids, leading many folks to simply not risk coming forward to get the children out of baby jail.

Not surprisingly, members of the rightwing House Freedom Caucus met with Trump's acting chief of staff Mick Mulvaney to demand that Trump should also veto the Senate bill if it's adopted, because what good is reducing the number of children in jail if you can't also use them as a trap to catch and deport other members of the kids' families?

And so with two days to go before Congress heads off for a recess, here we are with kids being held in terrible conditions, and Republicans fighting tooth and nail to prevent any reduction in that awfulness. And the rightwing noise machine is already insisting that if you aren't down with obliterating any shred of decency, you don't just hate America -- you also don't want to help those dirty pestilent kids you keep yammering about.

[Reuters / WaPo / NYT / WaPo]

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Doktor Zoom

Doktor Zoom's real name is Marty Kelley, and he lives in the wilds of Boise, Idaho. He is not a medical doctor, but does have a real PhD in Rhetoric. You should definitely donate some money to this little mommyblog where he has finally found acceptance and cat pictures. He is on maternity leave until 2033. Here is his Twitter, also. His quest to avoid prolixity is not going so great.

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