Our Demands Are Clear: President Biden and Congress Must Right the Wrongs of Their Harmful FY22 Omnibus and Slash Funding for Enforcement in FY23 Budget Negotiations
Washington, D.C. – This afternoon, President Biden will deliver a speech about his budget request for Fiscal Year 2023. In an important testament to years of organizing efforts, President Biden’s budget request, released this morning, includes a reduction in immigration detention beds and in funding for ICE’s enforcement and custody budgets. However, the request also proposes expanding the number of Border Patrol agents by 300, increasing funding for Customs and Border Protection (CBP) to over $15 billion, and increasing funding for ICE’s dangerous e-carceration and surveillance programs to over $527 million.
Earlier this month, President Biden went against all promises to protect immigrant communities and signed Congress’ Fiscal Year 2022 omnibus bill which allocated over $81 billion to the Department of Homeland Security, of which over $23 billion will be used to fund immigration enforcement and dangerous surveillance technology. The Defund Hate coalition expects Congress to build off of the cuts indicated in President Biden’s budget proposal by boldly reducing DHS funding for enforcement in their negotiated FY2023 budget.
The Defund Hate Coalition will be hosting a press briefing on the budget request, March 29 at 11:00 am EST. Register here.
Hillary Li, Policy Counsel of Detention Watch Network, said:
“This policy shift to decrease the number of immigration detention beds by 26%, from 34,000 to 25,000, is a decisive victory for the movement to end immigration detention made possible by decades of dedicated organizing. We are succeeding in making the case that detention should be defunded. Immigration detention cannot be fixed–it is inhumane by design and no amount of funding will change that. Detention is also unnecessary: Immigrants and people seeking asylum should be able to navigate their immigration case in community and with the support of their loved ones — not behind bars. We are encouraged by the steps the Biden Administration is taking, but it can and must do more to end the use of immigration detention in any form.”
Cynthia Garcia, National Campaigns Manager for Community Protection of United We Dream, said:
“At the end of the day, our federal budget should be aligned with our values of community care, racial justice and humanity and dignity for all. A budget that continues to fund billions towards deadly, anti-Black immigration enforcement is not a budget aligned with our values. Congress has the means to invest in the resources we truly need and deserve, including access to health care, equitable housing, education, permanent protections for undocumented folks, and so much more, NOT in more enforcement. Our organizing power made the reductions in detention beds reflected in Biden’s budget request possible, and we will continue fighting to ensure President Biden and Congress do more to dramatically cut funding from enforcement and invest in our communities as they negotiate a Fiscal Year 2023 spending bill. As long as Congress and the Biden Administration choose to recklessly approve billions of dollars for ICE and CBP, they will bear full responsibility for the suffering of Black, brown and immigrant communities subjected to detention, dangerous surveillance, and deportation. President Biden’s proposed budget does not go far enough to cut funding from these agencies, we call on Congress to be bold and make significant cuts to ICE and CBP and reinvest in our communities!”
Lindsay Koshgarian, Program Director of the National Priorities Project, said:
“Congress just approved a $782 billion Pentagon budget, and today’s budget proposal is even higher at $813 billion dollars. Prioritizing militaristic solutions starves our communities of resources while worsening conflict. Taken together, spending on war, the military, immigrant detention, federal law enforcement, and border militarization in the name of “homeland security,” which disproportionately targets Black and brown people, accounts for nearly two out of every three discretionary dollars spent. That leaves just one in every three dollars for priorities that our communities truly need, including public education, housing, public health, scientific and medical research, and more. President Biden and Congress have a responsibility to do better with our money. It’s past time to invest in the resources that keep our communities truly safe.”
Paromita Shah, Executive Director of Just Futures Law, said:
“Last year, the Biden administration’s Fiscal Year 2022 budget failed to enact bold, pro-immigrant policies and protect immigrant communities from the harms of our immigration carceral system. These new budget numbers show deepening investments into a deadly digital border wall and ICE’s ISAP e-carceration program, which is expected to surveil over 200,000 people by the end of Fiscal Year 2022. These huge increases in invasive border surveillance and e-carceration are not investments in a more humane immigration system. From ankle shackles to geo-tracking apps, there is growing evidence that invasive surveillance technology causes detrimental mental and physical pain to community members. It’s time President Biden fulfills his campaign promises to create a more humane immigration system and truly provide funding that protects and supports our communities.”
Jean-Ismael Bien-Aime-Nicolas, French citizen of Haitian decent, detained in ICE facilities for four years before being deported to France, said:
“Today’s schools, hospitals, nursing homes, and shelters are not sufficiently funded to serve those in need. Rather, the U.S. government is choosing to fund federal agencies and e-carceration programs that separate and harm immigrant families like mine and allow inhumane, degrading treatment towards those in detention, many of whom are Black and brown brothers and sisters who came to this country for protection and better opportunities. I myself have two children which I have been separated from when ICE detained me for four long years and disregarded due process and my basic rights. We have also seen the cruelty of the Biden Administration when tens of thousands of Haitians were treated like cattle in Texas, whipped by CBP agents, and later deported in the middle of the night by hundreds with no due process by immigration enforcement agents. Enough is enough! President Biden cannot continue to lie to the public about having a humane approach to immigration. It’s past time to dramatically cut funding for surveillance technology and detention and end deportations!”
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.