July 17, 2019

New Democrat Coalition Endorses Rep. Ruiz’s Humanitarian Standards for Individuals in Customs and Border Protection Custody Act

Today, the New Democrat Coalition announced its endorsement of Rep. Raul Ruiz’s H.R. 3239, the Humanitarian Standards for Individuals in Customs and Border Protection (CBP) Custody Act, which would establish basic humanitarian standards of care for individuals in CBP custody.

In the event that the federal government restricts the free movement of an individual – including their detainment by CBP – then it is the federal government’s responsibility to respect these basic rights and uphold the dignity of human life throughout the process. Unfortunately, the government is not currently equipped to meet those standards. It is critical that our agents have the equipment, resources, and training to protect the health and safety of the individuals in their custody.

“Our values as a nation demand we take action to prevent the needless loss of another child in the custody of our federal government,” said New Democrat Coalition Chair Derek Kilmer. “This bill would set minimum medical care standards for migrants in CBP custody and address some of the issues we face at the border in a way that is aligned with our American values of treating all individuals humanely. New Dems are proud to support this bill authored by our colleague Raul Ruiz and we urge our leadership to prioritize this bill for consideration by the full House.”

“We must take action to prevent more children from dying at the border and meet the basic humanitarian needs of the families under CBP’s custody and responsibility,” said Congressman Raul Ruiz, M.D. “I’d like to thank the New Democrat Coalition for endorsing my bill, the Humanitarian Standards for Individuals in CBP Custody Act, a critical step that brings us closer than ever to ensuring our treatment of children, women, and families is consistent with our American values and the principles of basic human dignity. I look forward to continuing our work together to develop a professional, humane response to the humanitarian challenges at the border.”

Congressman Ruiz is an emergency medicine physician, public health expert, and humanitarian aid specialist. In 2010, he was a first responder to the Haitian earthquake, where he served as the medical director of the largest camp of internally displaced persons in Port-au-Prince.