More than 150 Immigrant Rights Organizations Sent a Letter to Congressional Appropriators Calling on Congress to oppose the White House’s Request for Additional ICE and CBP Funding

Washington, DC — More than 150 immigrant rights organizations sent a letter to congressional appropriators calling on Congress to reject the Biden administration’s requests to make an exception in the continuing resolution appropriations bill currently under consideration to allow Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) and U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) to increase spending on detention, deportation, and border militarization in the next fiscal year. The below letter demands that Congress assert its authority to stop ICE’s and CBP’s unchecked spending on the detention system.

Re: FY 2022 Continuing Resolution (CR) anomalies request for a short-term CR

Dear Members of Congress:

As you consider the FY2022 Continuing Resolution (CR) Appropriations request for anomalies required for a short-term CR, we write to urge you to oppose the White House’s requests for additional funding or flexibility in spending for immigration enforcement and detention operations. We ask, specifically, that you reject the request from the White House for additional flexibility to increase spending on Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) detention and removals above the Fiscal Year 2021 levels. We also caution against providing additional flexibility for U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) funds that could be channeled towards further border militarization and enforcement. It is critical that Congress assert its authority to stop the administration’s unaccountable runaway spending on its abusive detention system and protect against further border militarization.

ICE has expanded its detention system with little accountability at a dramatic rate, in part because Congress has failed to use its power to rein in the agency’s wasteful and abusive operations. CBP also has a record of mis-using funds appropriated by Congress for humanitarian purposes, spending instead on enforcement. Now, the White House FY2022 request for a short-term CR includes an anomaly request to utilize ICE “Operations and Support” funds for Alternatives to Detention programs, which entail ICE supervision and electronic surveillance programs, and detention and removal operations for non-citizens apprehended crossing the southwest land border between ports of entry. The request is completely unwarranted, especially given that Congress funded ICE in FY2021 to detain 10,000 more individuals than are currently detained and more than double the amount of people that were in detention at the time.

The White House is also requesting flexible spending on CBP “Operations and Support” to “respond to changing migration patterns across the southwest land border.” If such flexibility is granted, Congress must include guardrails to ensure this funding is used as intended for timely processing and support for Afghan evacuees, and not for enforcement purposes. Furthermore, any funding to mitigate the effects of COVID-19 should ensure that individuals are not held in congregate settings, but instead released responsibly in coordination with community-based and operated local shelters and community groups.   

The immigration detention and enforcement system’s abusive history is long and well-documented. A look at this past year alone reveals the cruelty of this system to which Congress continues to dedicate billions in funding. People in detention continue to file complaints of abuses, including medical neglect, violations of disability rights, and racist and discriminatory treatment. Rights groups continue to document persistent abuses, including due process violations, committed by Border Patrol agents against asylum seekers along the Southwest border.

In March, more than 245 organizations wrote to urge Congress to prioritize the wellbeing of all immigrant and border communities by dramatically cutting funding to ICE and CBP as a first step to ending the United States’ enforcement-only response to migration. Last month, as the end of FY2021 approached, more than 190 organizations sent a letter to reiterate the need for Congress to take bold action in FY2022 to reduce the United States’ reliance on incarceration for immigration processing. Today, we write again to raise alarm over the White House’s request for additional funding for immigration and detention enforcement on a short-term CR that will continue already bloated enforcement budgets. To make good on its promise to reimagine a humane immigration processing system, the administration should be working to support, not further militarize, border communities; and to reduce, not increase, the population of people detained by ICE.

Congress has the power and the resources to ensure that people navigating their immigration case can do so with their families and with their community—not behind bars in immigration detention. As you consider the White House short-term CR FY2022 anomalies requests, we, the undersigned organizations, strongly urge you to recognize the critical role of Congress to protect immigrant and border communities from the dangers of ICE’s deadly and unnecessary detention system and Border Patrol’s unaccountable enforcement tactics.


Advocate Visitors with Immigrants in Detention (AVID) in the Chihuahuan Desert

Advocates for Basic Legal Equality, Inc.

African American Ministers In Action

Aldea – The People’s Justice Center

Alianza Americas

Alianza Nacional de Campesinas

Alliance for Action Immigration Action Group

America’s Voice

American Civil Liberties Union

American Friends Service Committee

American Gateways

American Immigration Council

American Immigration Lawyers Association

American Muslim Empowerment Network (AMEN)

American-Arab Anti-Discrimination Committee (ADC)

Amnesty International USA

Asian Americans Advancing Justice – AAJC

Asian Americans Advancing Justice – Asian Law Caucus

Asian Americans Advancing Justice – Los Angeles

Asian Americans Advancing Justice-Atlanta

Asian Counseling and Referral Service

Asian Law Alliance


Asylum Seeker Advocacy Project (ASAP)

Autistic Self Advocacy Network


Bend the Arc: Jewish Action

Bend the Arc: Jewish Action California


Boston University School of Law, Immigrants’ Rights and Human Trafficking Program

Bridges Faith Initiative

Brooklyn Community Bail Fund

Capital Area Immigrants’ Rights Coalition

Center for Disability Rights

Center for Gender & Refugee Studies

Center for Popular Democracy

Center for Victims of Torture

Chicago Religious Leadership on Latin America

Chinese-American Planning Council (CPC)

Church World Service

Coalition for Humane Immigrant Rights (CHIRLA)

Coastal Roots Farm

Colorado Jobs with Justice

Community Change Action

Connecticut Shoreline Indivisible

CREEC Law (Civil Rights Education and Enforcement Center)

Detention Watch Network

End Streamline Coalition

Fair Immigration Reform Movement (FIRM) Action

Faith in Action

Faith in Public Life

Families for Freedom

Family Voices NJ

Fight for the Future

Florence Immigrant & Refugee Rights Project

Free Migration Project

Freedom for Immigrants

Friends Committee on National Legislation

Good Figures, LLC

H-CAN Immigration and Refugee group

Haitian Bridge Alliance

Hispanic Federation

Houston Immigration Legal Services Collaborative

Human Rights First

ICNA Council for Social Justice (ICNA CSJ)

Illinois Coalition for Immigrant and Refugee Rights

Immigrant Action Alliance

Immigrant Defenders Law Center

Immigrant Defense Project

Immigrant Legal Advocacy Project

Immigration Hub


Inland Coalition for Immigrant Justice

International Refugee Assistance Project (IRAP)

Jewish Activists for Immigration Justice of Western MA

Jewish Alliance for Law and Social Action

Jewish Community Action

Jewish Community Action (MN)


Justice Strategies

Kern Welcoming and Extending Solidarity to Immigrants


Kino Border Initiative

La Resistencia

Latin America Working Group (LAWG)

Legal Aid Justice Center

Living hope wheelchair association

Louisiana Advocates for Immigrants in Detention

Make the Road New York

Mariposa Legal

Massachusetts Law Reform Institute

Memphis Methodist Immigrant Relief Fund Program


Movement for Justice in El Barrio

MPower Change

Mujerxs Organizando Oportunidades Notables

Muslim Advocates

Muslim Voices Coalition

National Center for Parent Leadership, Advocacy, and Community Empowerment (National PLACE)

National Center for Transgender Equality

National Council of Churches USA

National Immigrant Justice Center

National Immigration Law Center

National Immigration Project (NIPNLG)

National Network for Immigrant & Refugee Rights

National Priorities Project at the Institute for Policy Studies

Network in Solidarity with the People of Guatemala

New York Immigration Coalition

Nikkei Progressives

Northwest Immigrant Rights Project

Oasis Legal Services

Ohio Center for Strategic Immigration Litigation & Outreach

Ohio Immigrant Alliance

Oxfam America

People’s Action

PG Change Makers

Policing and Social Justice Project

Prisoners’ Legal Services of MA

Project Blueprint

Public Defenders Coalition for Immigrant Justice (PDCIJ)

Quixote Center


Restore The Fourth

Rian Immigrant Center

Robert F. Kennedy Human Rights

San Diego Immigrant Rights Consortium

Sanctuary DMV

Service Employees International Union (SEIU)

Services, Immigrant Rights and Education Network (SIREN)

Showing Up for Racial Justice (SURJ)

Sisters of Mercy of the Americas Justice Team

Southeast Asia Resource Action Center (SEARAC)

Southeast Immigrant Rights Network (SEIRN)

Southern Border Communities Coalition

SPAN Parent Advocacy Network (SPAN)

SPLC Action Fund

St. Francis in the Foothills

Tahirih Justice Center

Takoma Park Mobilization — Equal Justice

The Advocates for Human Rights

The Bronx Defenders

The Workers Circle

Tuesdays with Tillis

UndcouBlack Network

Unidad Latina en Acción CT

Unitarian Universalist Service Committee

United We Dream


Until Freedom

Voces Unidas

Washington Defender Association

Wind of the Spirit Immigrant Resource Center

Women’s Refugee Commission