Saturday, August 9, 2014

These Children Are Refugees

The following is from Congressman Rush Holt's newsletter

As the nature of migration has changed in recent years, Congress has failed to update our immigration laws accordingly, leaving us unequipped to deal with the current humanitarian crisis on the Southern border. Make no mistake – this is indeed a humanitarian crisis. These unaccompanied minors – these children – are crossing our border by themselves, across thousands of miles, to escape conditions that we in this country can only imagine. We should be compassionate and treat these children as refugees, because these children are refugees.

Last week, the House again failed to introduce comprehensive immigration reform, instead debating two immigration-related bills that failed to address seriously the request President Obama made for additional funding to deal with these children. These bills sought to punitively attack a group of innocent children, and would repeal laws and protections that currently exist to prevent the trafficking and sexual exploitation of children.

Our immigration laws ought to reflect both our interests and our values as Americans. Our nation has an obligation and moral responsibility to take in and protect those who have faced persecution and violence in their home countries, as we have since our founding. We should not continue to hold the fates of these children hostage to partisan bickering and election-year gimmicks. The right way to address this crisis, and the many other crises that exist because of our broken immigration laws, is to fix the laws in a comprehensive way.

New Jersey’s Commitment to Sustainable Energy

Today, in the 21st century, the United States faces new energy challenges. It should be clear to us all that 20th century forms of energy – especially coal and oil – are not compatible with the world we want in the 21st century.

At the state level, lawmakers have taken promising steps. New Jersey committed to an aggressive plan that requires 20 percent of our electricity come from renewables, such as wind and solar, by 2020. Already New Jersey is second to only California in installed solar photovoltaic capacity. Yet recently, New Jersey’s commitment to sustainable energy has faltered. The Christie Administration has delayed efforts to harvest offshore wind energy, and withdrawn from a regional approach to combating climate change.

I was pleased to tour this week NRG Energy’s Princeton headquarters. NRG, a power company which has a large business generating electricity using traditional fuels, is also making large waves into wind and solar, in recognition of the need to address climate change.

So-called alternative energy can become standard, according to many industry analysts and energy policy analysts. For example, a 2013 study in the journal Energy Policy presents an alternative scenario for the complete conversion by 2030 of New York State’s energy to wind, water, geothermal, and solar. I do not know of a similar study for New Jersey, although a similar scenario could apply. I am pleased, therefore, that such an innovative and forward-thinking company has found a home in New Jersey’s 12thDistrict.

Livable Communities

As we enjoy the last month of summer, I encourage you to take advantage of some of central New Jersey’s beautiful biking and walking trails. I have done so. A few weeks ago, I attended the official opening of the Pennington Connection to the Lawrence Hopewell Trail, a project for which I was able to secure $267,000 in federal funds. Trails like this can improve the overall quality of life for both residents and employees of a region by providing transportation alternatives.


Rush Holt
Member of Congress

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