Responses to Family Separation and the Administration’s Proposed Detention Center at Concord Naval Weapons Station
Dear Contra Costa County Residents:
As the House of Representatives prepares for another busy week, below is a snapshot of our recent work in Washington, DC and at home in Contra Costa County.
The Trump Administration's actions this past week on immigration, using children as a bargaining chip and throwing them in jail, while lying and saying nothing could be done, are the purest form of evil.
Late last Friday, we learned that the Trump Administration has proposed creating a camp for 47,000 immigrants at the Concord Naval Weapons Station. The Administration needs to take a time out. This is no way to effectuate intelligent immigration policy, including for those seeking asylum. This is absolute madness and I oppose it wholeheartedly. If the Administration wants to have a rational dialogue about fixing our immigration system, I am happy to do that, but making up immigration policy on the fly is just wrong. We will fight this in every way we can. To watch my full statement click here.
I want to hear your thoughts. Please join me tomorrow, Tuesday, June 26th at 11:30 a.m. PST, for a Facebook Town Hall on immigration, the proposed Concord detention facility, and family separation.
MARK'S LEGISLATIVE ACCOMPLISHMENTS
John Muir National Historic Site Expansion Act (H.R. 1719)
Today we announced our bill to expand the John Muir National Historic Site in Martinez, California was signed into law. The John Muir National Historic Site Expansion Act (H.R. 1719) adds an additional 44 acres of donated land to the 330 acre park to help improve access to the East Bay's natural spaces and preserve the land for generations to come. It first passed in the U.S. House of Representatives by a vote of 401-to-15, was then unanimously passed in the Senate, and was signed into law by the President. Senator Kamala Harris (D-CA) authored the companion bill in the U.S. Senate.
Contra Costa's own John Muir, the father of our National Parks, championed the revolutionary idea that America's wild spaces ought to be preserved for all to enjoy. Through his writings and teachings, he helped to shape our appreciation of open spaces by reminding us to "keep close to Nature's heart." It has been an honor to help expand the site where Muir lived and wrote. Providing residents with additional ways to explore the beauty of the East Bay seems to be a fitting tribute to the man who loved and valued our natural wonders."
RECENT KEY VOTES
So-Called "Securing America's Future Act" (H.R. 4760)
Instead of engaging in a bipartisan, thoughtful, reasoned debate about immigration reform, the Majority brought an immigration bill to the floor that does not accomplish any of the goals necessary to help our country. H.R. 4760 extended the uncertainty for Dreamers, dismantled our family-based immigration system kicking off four million people currently in the pipeline to come to the United States, and did nothing to address the Trump Administration's cruel policy of separating families at the border. I joined many of my colleagues, including some across the aisle and I opposed this bill, which thankfully failed by a vote of 193-to-231.
Substance Use-Disorder Prevention that Promotes Opioid Recovery and Treatment (SUPPORT) for Patients and Communities Act (H.R. 6)
With over 115 people losing their lives to the opioid epidemic every day, it has never been more important to increase access to impactful, evidence-based treatment. This bill would increase access to life-saving treatments and increase the number of health care practitioners who can prescribe these treatments. It would also extend Medicaid coverage to former foster youth until the age of 26, enabling an already at-risk population more support during some of their most vulnerable years. I supported this bill, which overwhelming passed by a vote of 396-to-14.
Agriculture and Nutrition Act (H.R. 2)
The Farm Bill has historically been a bipartisan effort to support our nation's farmers and provide essential nutrition benefits to at-risk Americans. Unfortunately, this year's Farm Bill was the first in decades to be developed without Democratic input or support. The bill would take away essential nutrition benefits, like the program formerly known as Food Stamps, from millions of families. It is inhumane, cold hearted, and cruel. I opposed this bill, which unfortunately passed by a vote of 213-to-211.
MARK AROUND TOWN
Celebrating Unity in the Community
We celebrated with the Bay Point community at the 15th Annual Unity in the Community Festival, a day for Contra Costa families to appreciate our rich cultural diversity. This event served as an opportunity to visit community resource tables for health and family services, participate in fun children's activities, and enjoy local entertainment.
OPINIONS FROM THE DISTRICT
Below are some of the top issues you shared with me over the last week:
- 618 more constituents wrote in to share their strong opposition to the Trump Administration's policy of family separation at the border.
- 169 constituents expressed support for the Driftnet Modernization and Bycatch Reduction Act (H.R. 5638), which phases out the use of harmful large mesh driftnets off the coast of California.
- 87 constituents wrote in opposing the U.S. Census Bureau's plan to include a citizenship question on the 2020 census, which is a clear attempt by the Administration to disadvantage immigrant populations.
LEGISLATION MARK RECENTLY SUPPORTED
Keep Families Together Act (H.R. 6135) - prohibits Department of Homeland Security (DHS) officials from separating children from their parents at the border
HELP Separated Children Act (H.R. 5950) - protects children who have been separated from their parents after being detained by U.S. immigration authorities
Protect Family Values at the Border Act (H.R. 2572) - requires specific humane practices for the treatment of undocumented immigrants detained at the border
Reunite Children With Their Parents Act (H.R. 6172) - requires the Administration to reunite minor children separated from their asylum-seeking parents
Mental Health Care for Children Inhumanely Separated from Parents by the Federal Government Act (H.R. 6180) - requires every child separated from his or her parents to undergo an assessment by a mental health professional within 24 hours of separation
2020 Census Improving Data and Enhanced Accuracy (IDEA) Act (H.R. 5350) - prohibits last minute changes to the Census that have not been thoroughly tested for at least three years
Water Conservation Rebate Tax Parity Act (H.R. 448) - makes conservation subsidies exempt from taxable income, thereby incentivizing conservation
Special Priority on Aircrafts and Coverage Equity Act (H.R. 936) - permits veterans with a service-connected, permanent disability to travel on military aircraft in the same manner and to the same extent as retired members of the Armed Forces
LETTERS MARK RECENTLY SENT
Several letters to Department of Homeland Security (DHS) Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen and Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) Secretary Alex Azar asking them to clarify their plans to quickly reunify children and parents who have been separated at the border by the Trump Administration's policy
Letter to HHS Secretary Azar demanding that HHS demonstrate that it has the ability and resources to safely and appropriately care for all of these young children
Letter to DHS's internal investigator asking him to conduct an immediate investigation on DHS's recordkeeping of children and parents who are being separated
Letter to Oversight Committee Chairman Gowdy requesting an investigation into the Trump Administration's "zero-tolerance" policy on immigrants and their children and a full reporting of those who were impacted
Letter to HHS and DHS Secretaries requesting a full accounting of taxpayer funds spent on enforcing Trump's family separation policy
Letter to HHS Secretary Azar requesting documents about its decision to prevent doctors from sharing vital family planning information with their patients
Letter to Interior Department Secretary Ryan Zinke opposing the Administration's plans to open up the Coastal Plain of the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge to oil and gas drilling
MARK'S RECENT STATEMENTS
Congressman DeSaulnier's Statement on President Trump's Executive Order
"The fact that President Trump used children as a bargaining chip and threw them in jail, while lying and saying he could do nothing about it, is the purest form of evil. After reversing course and apparently miraculously receiving the power to make the change, he spat in the face of those same families and chose a different form of punishment - detaining families for even longer periods of time. After fleeing violence and unspeakable conditions, traveling thousands of miles through torturous circumstances, waiting at and being denied at ports of entry in excruciating weather conditions, and leaving everything they know behind, the President finds it fitting to punish these families further. If they had other options, they would not be coming to the United States."
Congressman DeSaulnier Announces Town Hall on "Protecting Our Environment" in Moraga
Earlier this year, Congressman Mark DeSaulnier (CA-11) asked Contra Costa residents to vote on town hall topics, and environmental protection was at the top of the list. Today, Mark announced that he will host a town hall on "Protecting Our Environment" on Monday, July 2nd at 6:30 p.m. in Moraga. At a time when California recently experienced one of the driest periods on record, and as storms are intensifying, sea levels are rising, and precipitation patterns are shifting, this town hall will explore the role government plays in protecting our environment. During the town hall, Congressman DeSaulnier will discuss the major environmental laws that protect our air, water, wildlife, and open spaces, and constituents will have the opportunity to ask questions and share thoughts on this important issue.
To RSVP, visit https://desaulnier.house.gov/town-hall-rsvp or call 925-933-2660.
MARK IN THE NEWS
California Water News Daily: Title transfer would grant Contra Costa Water District Possession of Canal System
"Maintaining and repairing our local water infrastructure is essential to protecting the ecosystems in the Delta. Fish screens help reduce the impact of our water supply systems on wildlife, especially the endangered species that migrate through the Delta," said Congressman DeSaulnier. "In addition, to allow for necessary safety improvements and to help revitalize land for recreation and development, ownership of the Contra Costa Canal should be transferred from the federal government to the Contra Costa Water District."