|June 22, 2018|
I spent this past Sunday in Texas visiting immigration detention facilities to see firsthand the impact of the Trump administration’s cruel new family separation policy. I met a woman who hadn’t seen her daughter in days, I spoke with asylum seekers who explained through tears that they didn’t know what happened to their kids, and I saw dozens of children being kept in overcrowded cages.
Two days ago, the President tried to escape blame for this mess by signing a new executive order that will keep immigrant families together, but require them to stay in detention facilities indefinitely. This is pathetic. Apparently the President is fine to keep immigrant families together as long as he can keep them behind bars. That’s not a solution. He created this crisis with his ‘zero tolerance’ policy that treats asylum seekers as criminals. Nothing in his executive order changes that.
PROTECTING JOBS ACT
Working Americans are struggling enough to get ahead. They don’t need the deck further stacked against them by having their student loan debt be the cause of a revoked or denied professional license.
There are currently 19 states that have laws on the books allowing state entities to take adverse action against an individual’s professional license for student loan default. In 2017, the New York Times found that there have been at least 8,700 cases of at-risk or revoked professional licenses -- including those for teachers, nurses, firefighters and cosmetologists.
On a fundamental level, people know that the economy is not working for them. That is why this week I joined Representative Drew Ferguson (R-GA-03) to introduce the Protecting Job Opportunities for Borrowers Act. This legislation would prevent states from suspending, revoking or denying state professional, teaching or driver’s licenses solely because borrowers fall into a delinquent or default status on their federal student loan payments.
The Protecting JOBs Act is a companion bill to the Senate version introduced by Senators Marco Rubio (R-FL) and Elizabeth Warren (D-MA). I am proud to join my colleagues to introduce this bill to help workers pay off their debt and make ends meet by ending this harmful practice.
Opioid overdoses are killing more Americans than car crashes. According to the Rhode Island Department of Health, there were 323 Rhode Islanders that died of accidental drug overdoses in 2017. This public health epidemic has demanded an aggressive and comprehensive response from our Congressional delegation.
That is why I am proud to announce that a substantial increase in federal funding has been made available for Rhode Island’s fight against opioid addiction.
Our state’s share from a grant program at the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration will rise from $2.1 million last year to $12.55 million, as a result of the Consolidated Appropriations Act of 2018 -- also known as the Omnibus Appropriations law.
In 2016 alone, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention ranked Rhode Island’s drug overdose death rate as the ninth highest of any other state in the nation. That is why it is so important that Rhode Island will be getting more than $10 million in additional federal funding to end this crisis. However, the fight doesn’t end there; our entire Congressional delegation will continue fighting for the prevention, treatment and recovery resources we need to keep Rhode Islanders safe.
IS THERE A LOADED, UNSECURED GUN IN YOUR HOUSE?
Every single day, seven children and teens are killed by gun violence and 40 more are shot and survive. Most of the time, the incident could have been be prevented if the gun had been unloaded and locked away safely.
Did you know that there are 1.7 million American children living in a home with an unlocked gun, and that three out of every four children ages 5-14 know where those guns are kept?
As Vice Chair of the House Gun Violence Prevention Task Force, I have introduced a Congressional resolution to recognize June 21st as National Asking Saves Kids Day.
National ASK Day, which is led by the Brady Center to Prevent Gun Violence, encourages parents to ask each other if there are loaded, unsecured guns in their homes. This initiative has been endorsed by Head Start, the American Public Health Association, and the American Academy of Pediatrics.
I believe that by asking these simple questions we could help save lives and reduce the level of gun violence in our country.
As always, if you or someone you know has any questions or concerns, please call my office at 729-5600 or send me an email at David.Cicilline@mail.house.gov.
You can also click here to follow my work on Twitter.
Member of Congress
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