Merkley Introduces Amendment to Prevent Internment Camps in United States

WASHINGTON, D.C. – Oregon’s Senator Jeff Merkley today announced that he has introduced an amendment to the 2019 Labor-Health and Human Services spending bill that would prevent the construction or operation of family internment camps in the United States.

In his June 20 Executive Order, President Trump called on Congress to authorize internment camps once he was forced to back down from his family separation strategy, and Republican Senators have proposed legislation that would give him that authorization. Family internment is yet another strategy that inflicts trauma on children in an effort to deter families fleeing persecution from coming to claim asylum in America.

“We had internment camps in America during World War II, and to this day it stands as one of the most shameful episodes in American history,” said Merkley. “We must not repeat this stain on our nation.

“We already have practical, humane, and proven alternatives, such as the Family Case Management Program, which according to the Homeland Security Inspector General’s report resulted in 100% of families showing up for their asylum hearings,” Merkley continued. “Additionally, the cost of a family case management strategy is dramatically lower than internment. This push for an internment camp strategy is simply another way to dehumanize and punish families fleeing persecution abroad. America, the nation of Lady Liberty, cannot and must not stand for this cruelty.”

Merkley’s amendment would prohibit any funding from being used to construct or operate family internment camps.