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Statement from Rep. Peter DeFazio on Lights for Liberty Rallies

Jul 12, 2019
Press Release

As thousands take part in vigils across Oregon, the U.S., and the globe, I rise today in strong opposition to the Trump administration’s inhumane detention policies. These policies and practices have led to families being ripped apart, children dying, and a shameful chapter written in our nation’s history.

That’s why I voted for the House-passed bill which had strong health and safety requirements for care of unaccompanied minor children, tightened restrictions on detention shelters, created accountability for contractors violating essential standards at detention shelters, and more. Instead, the Republican-controlled Senate stripped these essential reforms from the bill.  Congress ultimately passed the weak and flawed Senate version.

I voted against this toothless legislation. If we don’t address this crisis head-on with proper oversight standards and commit to holding this administration accountable, nothing will change and people will continue to suffer. That is unacceptable.

Make no mistake, we can’t solve the problems at our border if we don’t address the reasons that so many individuals are fleeing their home countries. The Trump administration’s plan to cut aid to countries like El Salvador, Guatemala, and Honduras will only make the situation worse, likely increasing violence and government dysfunction. Instead, we should be investing in a plan similar to the Marshall Plan after World War II to restore safety, stability, and promote economic opportunities in Central America. 

We must act—now—to get serious about reforming our broken immigration system by passing bipartisan, comprehensive immigration reform. This is the only course of action that will allow us to protect these vulnerable individuals while also producing real, long-term solutions to our immigration crisis.