Congresswoman Veronica Escobar Amendment to Prohibit Funds to Enforce the Department of Justice’s Zero-Tolerance Policy Passes House of Representatives

June 20, 2019
Press Release

(Washington, D.C.) – Today, Congresswoman Veronica Escobar (TX-16) issued the following statement after the House of Representatives passed her amendment to H.R. 3055, the Commerce, Justice, Science, Agriculture, Rural Development, Food and Drug Administration, Interior, Environment, Military Construction, Veterans Affairs, Transportation, and Housing and Urban Development Appropriations Act of 2020, to prohibit funds from being used to enforce the zero-tolerance policy at the Department of Justice.

This prosecutorial directive led to the separation of nearly 3,000 families that we know of. Prior to its implementation, family separation was tested in El Paso where 281 families were split apart. According to the American Academy of Pediatrics, separating children from their parents is highly damaging and can cause long term health consequences from toxic stress.

“One year ago today, President Trump signed the ‘Affording Congress an Opportunity to Address Family Separation’ Executive Order, ostensibly halting separations in favor of indefinite family detention. Notably, this Executive Order did not rescind the zero-tolerance policy and gave the green light to the Administration to continue the cruel and inhumane practice of family separation at our southern border,” said Congresswoman Escobar.

“The zero-tolerance policy is the center of this cruel practice and Congress must end it and restore prosecutorial discretion at the Department of Justice. I’m proud to see my amendment pass, and will continue to do everything possible to prevent another child from being ripped from his or her parents’ arms.”

View Congresswoman Escobar’s floor remarks offering the amendment here.