Rep. Elissa Slotkin Introduces Bill to Hold Administration Accountable for Humane Treatment of Migrants

July 15, 2019
Press Release
The Short-Term Detention Standards Act expands requirements under law to provide basic necessities to migrants in short-term custody

WASHINGTON -- U.S. Rep. Elissa Slotkin (MI-08) introduced the Short-Term Detention Standards Act today, a bill that requires the Administration by law to provide the full range of basic necessities to migrants in short-term custody, including access to bathroom and shower facilities, water, appropriate nutrition, hygiene, personal grooming items, and sanitation needs. 


This bill comes in response to recent reports detailing filthy and inhumane conditions at detention facilities on the Southern border, where migrants, particularly children, are being held by Customs and Border Protection beyond the 72 hours permitted by law and denied basic necessities, including reportedly not being allowed to shower for days and weeks, being denied access to soap, toothbrushes, and diapers. 


"We can secure our borders and treat migrants humanely. Those things aren't mutually exclusive, and anyone who says they are doesn’t understand our nation’s values,” Slotkin said. “Today I'm introducing the Short-Term Detention Standards Act, a bill that demands the Administration provide the basic necessities that migrants in detention, particularly children, are currently going without.”


“Let me be clear: providing adequate nutrition, hygiene and bathroom facilities to migrant children in our care is the bare minimum of what we must do, and it’s shameful that we must introduce this legislation at all,” Slotkin continued. “As a member of the Homeland Security Committee, I will continue to fight for critical oversight of the Department of Homeland Security’s treatment of migrants, including requiring the Administration follow current law, pushing legislation to provide resources for migrants, enhancing accountability measures to ensure funds are spent on their intended use, and visiting the Southern border this month to see firsthand what is happening in our name."


Slotkin, as a member of the Homeland Security Committee, is taking steps to exercise critical oversight over the Department of Homeland Security and the inhumane treatment of migrants in its care. This week, Slotkin spoke out against the Administration’s inhumane treatment of migrants at the border and pledged to ramp up oversight and accountability measures, visited Northern border facilities in Michigan to speak directly with Customs and Border Protection officers, and plans to take a bipartisan trip to the Southern border later this month.


The Short-Term Detention Standards Act:


  • Under the Homeland Security Act of 2002, only “adequate access to food and water” is required to be provided to migrants in short-term U.S. custody. 


  • This bill extends the law to require Customs and Border Protection to ensure the provision of appropriate temporary shelter with access to bathroom and shower facilities, water, appropriate nutrition, hygiene, personal grooming items, and sanitation needs.