Boxer wants executive order on immigrant conditions

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Sen. Barbara Boxer called Tuesday on President Obama to issue an executive order immediately to improve the treatment of people held at the nation’s immigration detention and processing facilities.

In a letter to Obama, the California Democrat asks for a set of standards in line with legislation she introduced last year that would cover access to food, water, bathrooms and beds, as well accommodations for pregnant women and the disabled, in the face of a crush of young detainees.

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"While I appreciate the emergency nature of the federal government's response to this crisis, I am gravely concerned that migrants apprehended at our borders, children and adults alike, are housed in short-term detention facilities that are woefully inadequate,” Boxer wrote to Obama.

The Obama administration is conducting a review of the nation’s immigration system in an effort to make it more humane. However, the president has asked Homeland Security Secretary Jeh Johnson to hold off on proposing any recommendations, giving Congress more time to pass immigration reform.

At the same time, Obama has created a task force to coordinate the federal response to an influx of illegal child migrants pouring into the United States from Mexico.

Boxer's bill, the Humane Short Term Custody Act, would require the DHS to draft regulations requiring minimum standards for the humane treatment of those held at short-term detention facilities.

Under the bill, the Department of Homeland Security Office of Inspector General would be required annually inspect Customs and Border Protection facilities annually and ensure they comply with the standards.

“These basic, physical needs must be met if we are committed to the humane treatment of every person held by United States authorities,” Boxer said.