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As Congress Prepares to Negotiate DHS Appropriations, Advocates to Champions in Congress: Hold That Line!

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As reports continue of the Trump administration’s immigration enforcement agencies ICE and DHS unaccountability and outlandish behavior, Congress will decide whether to grant the President’s $21.5 billion request to further his war on immigrants with border militarization and souped-up Deportation Force agents.

Last week, in a joint letter to congressional leadership and members of the House Committee on Appropriations, over 350 organizations –  including 129 national and 225 state and local organizations in 39 states and the District of Columbia –  expressed their strong opposition to this massive increase.

Read excerpts of the letter below and find the full letter here:

We, the undersigned organizations, write to ask you to oppose President Trump’s request to fund the construction of a wasteful border wall and the expansion of an indiscriminate deportation force that targets immigrant youth and long-term residents. The White House request inflates last year’s bloated immigration and border enforcement budget to a grand total of $21.5 billion which is more than the United States spends on all other law enforcement agencies combined. We urge you to significantly reduce funding for immigration enforcement and detention in the FY2018 Department of Homeland Security (DHS) and Department of Justice (DOJ) appropriations bills.

We can no longer treat funding for immigration detention and enforcement as business as usual. In light of the gridlock to pass permanent protections for Dreamers, every dollar appropriated for immigration enforcement is a dollar that can and will be used to jail and deport these young Americans and their families. President Trump and his appointees have eliminated all prioritization and discretion from the system. There is no room for consideration of a person’s equities, including length of time living in the U.S., ties to their communities, or U.S. citizen children. By expanding expedited processing and subjecting bona fide asylum seekers to increasingly prolonged detention, DHS is undermining due process and regularly deporting people who should be receiving protection under U.S. laws. By unleashing this force with inadequate limitations, the Administration has fostered an unprecedented attack on immigrant communities which threatens our education system, our local businesses, and our nation’s values.

Congress must demonstrate its power of the purse and refuse to reward an agency replete with chronic fiscal mismanagement, inadequate oversight and a penchant for covering up serious allegations of misconduct. Furthermore, mismanagement and neglect of the immigration detention system has resulted in a network of 200+ jails riddled with abuse and rights violations, including the excessive and arbitrary use of solitary confinement, abuse of force by officers, and deaths attributable to medical negligence. In light of these concerns, Congress should move to decrease ICE’s funding, not bail them out.