No Matter the Election Outcome, Congress Must Defund ICE and CBP and Prioritize the Wellbeing of Our Communities

Washington, DC— As Americans await the election results, the Defund Hate campaign issued the following statement:

“In January, the next president of the United States and members of the 117th Congress will assume responsibility for the health and wellbeing of U.S. communities and families still fighting for survival in a global pandemic. This includes immigrants who are detained or who are at risk of having their families and communities torn apart by Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) and Customs and Border Protection (CBP). Regardless of the outcome of the election, the Defund Hate campaign will continue to fight to dismantle these racist and militaristic agencies which endanger our families and neighbors, and drain resources from our communities.

Twenty-one people died in ICE custody in fiscal year 2020, the highest number of deaths in 15 years, even as the number of people in custody decreased significantly because of Trump administration policies sealing off the southern border to people seeking asylum. Adding to the tragic loss of life in ICE custody, CBP officers have killed two people in Texas and California in the past two weeks. The death toll in ICE and CBP custody underscores that these agencies operate within a culture of violence that results in sexual assaultviolent abusemedical neglect, and unsanitary conditions. Yet ICE and CBP suffer no consequences for endangering the health and safety of hundreds of thousands of people. 

“This system of abuse and neglect has cost U.S. taxpayers more than $25 billion–an unacceptable waste of resources at any time, but especially during a global pandemic that has cost the lives of more than 225,000 Americans, shuttered school, and threatened the livelihoods of millions of people.

“Our nation cannot heal until we end racist systems of incarceration and immigration enforcement. We’re thankful for congressional champions who have stood with us since the launch of the Defund Hate campaign in 2017. Regardless of what is to come, we look forward to continuing this fight for the safety and wellbeing of immigrant communities together. We call on Congress and local and state governments to end the wasteful spending of our tax dollars on ICE and CBP that puts lives in jeopardy, and to instead fund education, housing, health care, and other programs that provide opportunity and increase our collective wellbeing.”


The #DefundHate campaign, composed of organizations representing directly impacted communities, faith leaders, and civil rights and immigrant rights advocates, is committed to divestment from agencies that tear apart our families and terrorize our communities. For too long, our representatives have said they care about our communities while simultaneously funding aggressive immigration enforcement and deadly immigration jails. They must be held accountable to keep their promises and stand with the immigrant community. We call on our members of Congress to say no and vote against wasting taxpayer dollars on an abusive and deadly immigration enforcement system. Instead, we want our tax dollars used to strengthen our families and communities by investing in education, housing, nutrition and health care programs that provide opportunity and increase well-being.