This afternoon, Senators Harris (D-CA), Menendez (D-NJ), and Hirono (D-HI) joined immigrants and advocates to urge their congressional colleagues to reduce funding for Trump’s deportation budget. A recording of today’s event is available here.
The call follows the release of a letter, sent to the Senate Committee on Appropriations regarding the Fiscal Year 2018 Appropriations Bill, from 19 Senators (listed below), requesting decreased funding for President Trump’s detention beds and deportation force and no funding for the unnecessary and costly border wall.
As the Senators note, President Trump’s unshackled Immigration and Customs Enforcement and Customs and Border Protection agents’ “indiscriminate approach to enforcement has sown fear and anxiety in communities across the nation… This Administration’s immigration policies have been devastating to families, and we as members of Congress have a responsibility to mitigate this harm by reducing the funding that goes toward further attacks on our country’s immigrants and their families.”
Senator Kamala Harris (D-CA), said:
The Department of Homeland Security plays a vital role in ensuring our nation’s security, and their mission is without a doubt vital – however, the President’s FY2018 budget undermines this mission by making cuts to critical programs that helps states and localities keep communities safe. This administration’s immigration policies are disastrous and they are inflicting pain on communities. To minimize damage, we need to reduce the funding for President Trump’s deportation force and provide no funds for his costly and unnecessary border wall.
Senator Bob Menendez (D-NJ), said:
We are determined to fight against allocating more funds that will result in the continued separation of our immigrant families. The administration’s exorbitant funding request to increase detention beds, add even more border and ICE agents, and build an unnecessary and offensive border wall will not make us safe but rather waste taxpayer dollars and send immigrant communities further into the shadows. So instead of being forced to fund the deportation of parents with no criminal record and leave U.S. citizen children without a mom or dad, the American people need to raise their voice and fight these hateful policies around the country. We are seeing this fight take shape, and we need to remain unified in the coming months if we are to truly make an impact in the Appropriations and legislative process.
Senator Mazie Hirono (D-HI), said:
This administration is dealing in alternative facts, in other words, lies, to justify their policies. The kind of money that President Trump wants to put into DHS and a border wall proves that the anti-immigrant fervor of this administration knows no bounds. 11 million people are living in fear every day. This is injustice. We have been working with a coffee farmer, Andres Magana Ortiz, who is married to a U.S. citizen, has three U.S. citizen children, and pays taxes. In March, DHS revoked his temporary stay and ordered he be removed from the country. Ortiz represents the type of injustice being carried out by this administration: the targeting of individuals who are not bad hombres. We need to focus on comprehensive immigration reform to address the needs of our community. This is a time for us to raise our voices. I came to this country as a young girl. My mother sacrificed a lot for me to be in this country, so I can empathize with those who want to stay and thrive here. We must not go gently into the dark night, we must fight.
Angelica Salas, Executive Director, Coalition for Humane Immigrant Rights (CHIRLA), said:
Not content with spreading hateful, anti-immigrant rhetoric, President Trump now wants to feed an insatiable deportation machine with billions of tax-payer dollars. The Trump Administration’s reign of terror and rogue ICE and CBP offices need oversight and monitoring of indiscriminate tactics which have already caused much fear and anxiety in communities throughout the United States. The requested billions, which will be used for thousands more detention beds, deportation agents, and a costly border wall, should be rejected by the American people.
Daniela Vargas, Dreamer, said:
I am a Dreamer and now face possible deportation. I have lived in the United States, the country that I love, since I was 7. But, my world was turned upside down when ICE invaded my home and took my father and brother earlier this year. Two weeks later, I spoke at a public event against Trump’s actions. Immediately after this event, I was detained. I wondered if I was targeted because I spoke out against how ICE’s actions hurt our community and my family. With the help of a great legal team and many community organizations and supporters, I was later released. But I worry greatly about the many others who do not have the support, legal and emotional, that I do, which is why I am voicing my concerns, even though I’m worried about the risk of doing so. My fight is not over. We are still working to ensure that I can stay here and start college in the fall, which is something I have always dreamed of doing. I ask Congress to use tax dollars to strengthen our schools, rather than deport students like me.
Marielena Hincapié, executive director of the National Immigration Law Center, said:
National Immigration Law Center is an organization that believes all of us, regardless of where we were born or our yearly income, should be able to live with dignity and fulfill our full human potential. This is why we are deeply troubled by the proposed budget, which attacks immigrant families and the working class to provide tax cuts for the wealthy and fund a mass deportation force that harms our country. Let me be clear, every dollar that President Trump receives for arresting, detaining, and deporting undocumented immigrants is a dollar we’re not investing in our children’s education, in ending hunger and poverty, or in affordable healthcare for all. This proposed budget would harm all of our children, our neighbors, and our families. We are grateful for our Senate champions.
The letter, led by Senator Kamala Harris (D-CA), was signed by Senators Michael Bennet (D-CO), Richard Blumenthal (D-CT), Cory Booker (D-NJ), Maria Cantwell (D-WA), Ben Cardin (D-MD), Chris Coons (D-DE), Tammy Duckworth (D-IL), Richard Durbin (D-IL), Al Franken (D-MN), Mazie Hirono (D-HI), Robert Menendez (D-NJ), Ed Markey (D-MA), Jeff Merkley (D-OR), Bernie Sanders (I-VT), Chris Van Hollen (D-MD), Elizabeth Warren (D-MA), Sheldon Whitehouse (D-RI), and Ron Wyden (D-OR).