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S. 3567 - No Internment Camps Act

Sponsor: Jeff Merkley (D)
Introduced: 2018-10-10
Bill Status: Read twice and referred to the Committee on the Judiciary.
 
Summary Not Available

Full Text


115th CONGRESS
2d Session
S. 3567


    To prohibit the use of funds for the operation or construction of internment camps, and for other purposes.


IN THE SENATE OF THE UNITED STATES

October 10, 2018

    Mr. Merkley (for himself and Mr. Wyden) introduced the following bill; which was read twice and referred to the Committee on the Judiciary


A BILL

    To prohibit the use of funds for the operation or construction of internment camps, and for other purposes.

Be it enacted by the Senate and House of Representatives of the United States of America in Congress assembled,

SECTION 1. Short title.

This Act may be cited as the “No Internment Camps Act”.

SEC. 2. Findings.

Congress finds the following:

(1) The Federal Government has intentionally separated and detained families seeking asylum in the United States purportedly to deter other foreign nationals from coming to the United States in the future. Such method of deterrence is ineffective, contrary to human rights norms, and likely violates United States and international law.

(2) On September 7, 2018, the Secretary of Homeland Security issued a proposed rule entitled “Apprehension, Processing, Care, and Custody of Alien Minors and Unaccompanied Alien Children” (83 Fed. Reg. 45486 (September 7, 2018)), that attempts to circumvent a 1997 court agreement commonly known as the “Flores Settlement Agreement” to undermine current legal protections for children and families and increase family detention.

(3) Detaining families can have long-term consequences on children, such as—

(A) difficulty regulating emotions, achieving developmental milestones, and forming healthy relationships;

(B) increased rates of anxiety, depression, and post-traumatic stress disorder; and

(C) heightened risks of suicide and self-harm.

(4) When family units are placed in family detention facilities—

(A) family members experience feelings of isolation and increased stress;

(B) the ability of the parents to care for their children is compromised by the constraints of detention; and

(C) the detention setting creates barriers to—

(i) accessing counsel and legal services; and

(ii) successfully obtaining relief from removal.

(5) Nondetention-based practices, such as family case management and community-based programs, are effective and humane alternatives to family detention.

SEC. 3. Definitions.

In this Act:

(1) APPROPRIATE COMMITTEES OF CONGRESS.—The term “appropriate committees of Congress” means—

(A) the Committee on the Judiciary and the Committee on Appropriations of the Senate; and

(B) the Committee on the Judiciary and the Committee on Appropriations of the House of Representatives.

(2) FAMILY RESIDENTIAL CENTER.—The term “family residential center” means a facility dedicated to detaining alien families.

(3) FUND.—The term “Fund” means the Emergency Fund for Asylum Seekers established by section 5(a).

(4) SECRETARY.—The term “Secretary” means the Secretary of Homeland Security.

SEC. 4. Prohibition on use of funds for internment camps.

(a) In general.—Notwithstanding any other provision of law, none of the amounts made available after the date of the enactment of this Act for any fiscal year may be obligated or expended to operate or construct a family residential center, whether directly operated by U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement or by another governmental or nongovernmental contractor.

(b) Previously authorized expenditures.—

(1) IN GENERAL.—Beginning 1 year after the date of the enactment of this Act, none of the amounts made available before such date of enactment for the purpose of operating or constructing a family residential center may be used for such purpose.

(2) PROHIBITION ON TRANSFER.—None of the amounts made available before the date of the enactment of this Act may be reprogrammed or transferred for the purpose of operating or constructing a family residential center.

(c) Alternatives to detention.—

(1) TRANSFER OF FUNDS.—Amounts obligated to operate a family residential center as of the date of the enactment of this Act shall be transferred to the Alternatives to Detention Account for the implementation of the Family Case Management Program and the development of additional community-based nondetention programs for alien families.

(2) NONPROFIT ENTITY CONTRACTING PARTNER.—The Secretary shall contract with a qualified nonprofit entity for the operation of the Family Case Management Program and other community-based nondetention programs for alien families.

(3) LEGAL ORIENTATION.—To facilitate participant compliance with legal requirements, a nondetention program under this subsection shall include a legal orientation for each participant in the program.

(4) CASE MANAGEMENT TRAINING.—

(A) IN GENERAL.—The Secretary shall provide case management training for all personnel of a nondetention program under this subsection, including personnel of—

(i) the Department of Homeland Security; and

(ii) the nonprofit entity contracted under paragraph (2).

(B) BEST PRACTICES.—The training under subparagraph (A) shall be based on social welfare best practices.

(d) Rule of construction.—Nothing in this Act may be construed to endorse the separation of alien families who enter the United States at or between ports of entry.

SEC. 5. Emergency Fund for Asylum Seekers.

(a) Establishment of emergency fund.—There is established in the Treasury of the United States a fund to be known as the “Emergency Fund for Asylum Seekers”.

(b) Determination.—The Secretary may make a determination with respect to the number of alien families that have entered the United States for the purpose of seeking asylum during a fiscal year.

(c) Availability and use.—

(1) 100 PERCENT INCREASE.—If the number of alien families determined by the Secretary under subsection (b) to have entered the United States for the purpose of seeking asylum during a fiscal year exceeds 100 percent of the number of alien families that entered the United States for such purpose during the preceding fiscal year, as of the end of the comparable month of the preceding fiscal year, $80,000,000 shall be made available from the Fund for the purpose of increasing the capacity of the Department of Homeland Security to process, transport, parole, and release such alien families, of which not less than $20,000,000 shall be made available for grants to 1 or more nonprofit entities that operate respite centers to assist such alien families with services and compliance with legal requirements.

(2) 200 PERCENT INCREASE.—If the number of alien families determined by the Secretary under subsection (b) to have entered the United States for the purpose of seeking asylum exceeds 200 percent of the number of alien families that entered the United States for such purpose, as of the end of the comparable month of the preceding fiscal year, an additional amount of $20,000,000 shall be made available from the Fund for the purpose of interviewing, processing, transporting, paroling, and releasing alien families, of which not less than $5,000,000 shall be made available for grants to 1 or more nonprofit entities that operate respite centers to assist such alien families with services and compliance with legal requirements.

(d) Notification.—Not later than 14 days after the date on which an amount under subsection (c) is made available, the Secretary shall notify the appropriate committees of Congress of such availability.

(e) Limitations.—Notwithstanding any other provision of law, amounts in the Fund shall not be—

(1) reprogrammed or transferred for the purpose of operating or constructing a family residential center; or

(2) made available for the purpose of detaining or separating alien families.

(f) Authorization of appropriations.—There is authorized to be appropriated to the Fund $100,000,000 for each of fiscal years 2019 through 2024.


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