A recording of the call is available here.
On a press call today immigrant advocates gathered to discuss the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) appropriations measures moving through the Congress, and to connect the funding process to the family separation crisis. Yesterday, the House Appropriations Committee approved the 2019 DHS bill in a party line vote (29-22) that includes $5 billion in funding for President Trump’s border wall, $51.4 billion in discretionary funding (a $3.7 billion increase over 2018 levels), funds for hiring 400 new U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) agents and for increasing the number of detention beds to 44,000 — 3,480 more beds than in the current year.
Josh Breisblatt, Senior Policy Analyst, American Immigration Council, said: “The House spending bill directs billions of taxpayer dollars towards record levels of immigration enforcement, which will be used in part to advance the Administration’s inhumane family detention policies. Congress should instead fund less costly alternatives to detention and begin exercising much needed oversight of the immigration agencies.”
Katharina Obser, Senior Policy Advisor, Migrant Rights & Justice program, Women’s Refugee Commission, said: “The administration continues to present a false choice between separating families or locking them up together. Both are unconscionable and financially irresponsible, especially given the proven success of alternatives to detention programs. Yesterday, House appropriators signaled bipartisan attention and support for at least one program — the Family Case Management Program — that offers a sensible and compassionate approach to managing those seeking protection at our borders. These humane alternatives have bipartisan support in an era where that rarely happens.”
Greisa Martinez, Deputy Executive Director, United We Dream, said: “The brutality of the Trump administration is on display. Deportation agents are demanding papers on buses, they’re building detention camps, and they’re hiring people to ransack homes and neighborhoods. The money used for this will be to used to lock up immigrants and their families. Every Member of Congress must know to vote against the deportation force; vote ‘No’ on the appropriations bill.”