As Biden Undermines Campaign Promises to Protect Immigrants, It Is More Urgent Than Ever for Congress to Cut ICE and CBP Funding￼
Washington, DC — In response to reporting that the continuing resolution to fund the federal government may be extended until March 11 and in light of reporting by Axios that the Biden administration is planning a home confinement and curfew pilot program, the Defund Hate Campaign issued the following statement:
“Appropriators need to recognize their critical role in protecting immigrants, refugees and people seeking asylum from a punitive system that strips people of their dignity and basic human rights and separates them from loved ones. Over the next three weeks, Congress must finalize negotiations that lead to actual funding bills—because our legislators cannot protect immigrant communities while simultaneously choosing to continue Trump-era funding levels and supporting President Biden’s detention expansion. Congress must serve as a check on the administration’s efforts to grow the detention system and surveillance dragnet, and significantly reduce funds for Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) and Customs and Border Protection’s (CBP). ICE “alternatives” to detention (ATD) that the administration is seeking to expand have only proven to be another framework to restrict, surveil, and harm immigrants, and has to date not resulted in fewer people in detention.
The ask from the administration for members of Congress to fund as many as 350,000 people in ICE “alternatives to detention” is appalling. The number of people and families subject to ICE surveillance through its “ATD” programming has already doubled since President Biden took office—this request would quadruple it.
In Defund Hate’s proposal for a transformative budget, we highlight the story of Laura, a transgender woman who had to wear an ankle monitor for more than a year as part of ICE’s “Intensive Supervision Appearance Program.” This resulted in further discrimination every step of the way, making it harder for Laura to stabilize her life and health, as well as, fight her deportation case. Instead of increasing resources for ICE’s detention system and surveillance dragnet, Congress should be investing funds in vital programs and services that respond to real need, including affordable housing, legal representation, community healthcare and environmental protections, not writing a blank check for detention and the private prison and surveillance corporations that fuel it.
Members of Congress can say they are for protecting immigrants but their actions will determine whether they’re willing to continue putting millions of lives on the line. As Congress looks towards finalizing Fiscal Year 2022 appropriations and prepares to receive President Biden’s budget proposal for FY 2023 this spring, we urge them to strongly reject any requests that would grow funding for immigration enforcement, including for harmful so-called “alternatives” that continue to expand the power of ICE and CBP, and instead significantly cut funding for ICE and CBP to prioritize the freedom and dignity of immigrants.”
The Defund Hate Coalition, 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.