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Hudson Valley News

Rep. Delgado Talks About Mueller Report Testimony, Asylum Seekers

Congressman Antonio Delgado
Antonio Delgado, official portrait, 116th Congress
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public domain

New York Congressman Antonio Delgado recently briefed reporters about his July in-district work week. The Democrat says he’s keeping close watch on testimony regarding two separate issues.

Congressman Delgado of the 19th District is not saying whether he supports commencing impeachment proceedings against President Donald Trump. Meantime, former special counsel Robert Mueller is expected to publicly testify before the House Judiciary and Intelligence Committees this month about his investigation into Russian interference in the 2016 election.

“We need to continue as we have been, which is to aggressively investigate,” says Delgado.

He praised Mueller’s planned testimony, calling it a very good development.

“I think the more and more we investigate, we get McGahn in, we get Barr in, we get evidence that is underlying the Mueller report in, I think these are all things that are very important for us to proceed and do,” Delgado says. “And so I think that as long as we can keep doing that and keep informing the public about what in fact has transpired, I think it’s in a good posture.”

He refers to former White House Counsel Don McGahn and U.S. Attorney General William Barr. Delgado had his eye on testimony on a different matter — the Committee on Oversight and Reform’s July 12 hearings on what it calls the “Trump Administration’s Child Separation Policy: Substantiated Allegations of Mistreatment.”

“I share in the outrage people have expressed over the horrifying treatment of our fellow human beings. I find it unconscionable. We need to treat migrants and asylum seekers coming here, especially young children, with dignity, humanity and compassion.  And that certainly means complying with safe and sanitary conditions, which are required under the law. And the fact is any facility which fails to allow migrants to seek asylum with dignity or maintain the conditions required by our laws really doesn’t have a place in America,” Delgado says. “The fact is our country has to get really serious about the need for immigration reform. I think it’s important that as we work that through we have some real oversight of what’s happening on our borders.”

Delgado voted for a $4.5 billion emergency funding measure at the end of June to address to the large number of migrants at the U.S.-Mexico border and overcrowded detention centers. That vote was criticized by a number of activists who participated in a rally outside his Kingston office July 2, part of a nationwide “Close the Camps” protest.

“I have a lot of concern with the ways in which the administration has dealt with the flow of migrant workers and those seeking asylum,” Delgado says. “I find the approach has been deeply problematic, deeply insensitive to needs of those who are seeking a better way of life and, to the extent that there’s any sort of conversation about how to address these issues, the better approach would be to focus on making sure that we have the appropriate resources and funding for our Health and Human Service department to properly process the asylum claims and give the proper shelter and comfort needed to those who are seeking asylum.”

Delgado was asked about his robust fundraising for his 2020 re-election campaign.

“Well, I do think that we tried very hard to stay very connected to the folks at home. And I’ve done, I think, 14 town halls at this point, created a bunch of different advisory committees, from veterans to health care to small business to ag. We’ve got four offices opened up across the district; we’re opening up a fifth in the very near future. I pursued aggressively a lot of locally-based legislation that has bipartisan support in the ag space, in the opioid space, in the veterans space, in the infrastructure space,” says Delgado. “And so I like to think that my commitment to the community on the ground and my willingness to demonstrate that I’m accessible and transparent and will be accountable to the people has given some folks confidence that they want to continue to support me. And I think as long as we keep doing that and keep staying connected to the folks at home, we’ll continue to be in a good position.”

His Republican opponent in 2018, former Congressman John Faso, said he will not run in 2020. So far, no other Republican has declared a run. The National Republican Congressional Committee began levying attacks on Delgado early in the Congressional term, targeting the swing district along with a few others in New York it sees as vulnerable.

Meantime, during his July in-district work week, Delgado, of Rhinebeck, focused on issues that impact local veterans, from health care access and availability to job training opportunities in the farming sector. And he hosted the first meeting of his Health Care Advisory Committee. On Thursday, the House Judiciary Committee passed Delgado’s bipartisan legislation to assist family farmers. The Family Farmer Relief Act would ease the process of reorganizing debt through Chapter 12 bankruptcy rules.

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