Public Outrage Over Trump’s Anti-Immigrant Agenda Results in a Clear Demand to Members of Congress: Reduce Funding for ICE and CBP

For Immediate Release: Wednesday, March 14, 2018

100 Members of Congress on the record calling for decreases in funding for the detention and deportation machine

Washington, DC — Today’s release of a congressional letter led by Representatives Gutiérrez, Espaillat and Grijalva is the latest addition to a growing demand from constituents, advocates and Members of Congress for significant cuts in funding to Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) and Customs and Border Protection (CBP).

“The massive amount of engagement over the appropriations process to cut funding for ICE and CBP has reached a fever pitch. It shows the pure outrage over Trump’s hate-fueled anti-immigrant agenda and the resolve to fight it,” said Mary Small, Policy Director of Detention Watch Network. “ICE and CBP’s track records of abuse are long-standing, well documented and overwhelming. These agencies have proven to community members and Members of Congress alike that they cannot be trusted and should never be afforded the benefit of the doubt by Congressional appropriators or oversight committees.”

Negotiations about funding for the rest of the fiscal year are currently taking place ahead of the March 23 deadline. The letter release comes after a slew of parallel efforts directed toward Congressional leadership, all with the same bottomline: significant cuts in funding to ICE and CBP must be made.

Efforts include:

  • Over 150,000 petition signatures (here, here and here), that were delivered yesterday to Congressional leadership
  • A letter by 354 organizations – including 129 national and 225 state and local organizations –  in 39 states and the District of Columbia
  • A letter by 246 faith leaders and 68 faith-based organizations
  • A dear colleague letter from the Congressional Hispanic Caucus
  • A dear colleague letter from the Congressional Asian Pacific American Caucus
  • A tri-caucus dear colleague letter by the Congressional Hispanic Caucus, Congressional Asian Pacific American Caucus and Congressional Black Caucus

With today’s letter, there are now 100 Members of Congress on the record calling for cutting funds for ICE and CBP. This escalation comes as the Trump administration and Republican leaders are requesting $21.5 billion to ramp up the immigrant detention and deportation machine. This massive increase in funding would result in 500 new Border Patrol agents, 1,000 new ICE agents, over 51,000 detention beds, the expansion of the failed 287g program and $1.6 billion for the border wall and another billion for increased border militarization.

“We already know what the money proposed in this budget looks like in action. It looks like large scale raids, targeting immigrant leaders for retaliation, people dying as the result of medical neglect in detention facilities, and sexual assault survivors in solitary confinement for reporting their assault,” added Small. “Simply put: these are realities that warrant significant cuts in funding from responsible policy-makers committed to being good stewards of taxpayer dollars.”