WASHINGTON – The United States House of Representatives approved on Tuesday, with near-unanimous support from Democratic Party lawmakers and opposition from the White House, a $4.5-billion package in funding for the ongoing immigration crisis at the US border.
The measure received 230 votes in favor (three of them Republicans) and 195 against (four Democrats). It is now set to be debated in the Republican-majority Senate.
The Democrats debated the fine print of the border funding bill for hours as its most liberal representatives objected to passing a package which had originally been requested by US President Donald Trump for his policies.
The party’s progressive wing managed to impose health and safety conditions on how to invest the $4.5 billion earmarked for detained immigrants, which led to Trump’s public opposition and a veto threat by the White House.
“There are some provisions, I think, that actually are bad for children. There are a couple of points that I would like to get out of it, but I also have to get the money to be able to take care of children and families,” Trump told The New York Times daily.
“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. But that’s what we’re doing,” Pramila Jayapal, co-chair of the Congressional Progressive Caucus, said after finally giving the go-ahead to the bill.
The only ones to oppose the bill were charismatic lawmakers Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, Ilhan Omar, Ayanna Pressley and Rashida Tlaib.
The lower house’s approval comes days after reports that the Border and Customs Patrol was holding hundreds of children in unsanitary conditions at a detention facility in Texas, which caused widespread outrage in the country.
The US’ southern border has for months been witnessing an unprecedented wave of migrants, most of them Central American families seeking asylum.
In May alone, the US detained more than 132,000 immigrants at its southern border, a 30-percent increase compared to April and the largest figure recorded in a single month since 2006.