Successful Organizing by Immigrant Rights Groups Made Wins in Senate DHS Bill Possible, Defund Hate Campaign Demands Bold Action in Budget Negotiations to Cement Wins and Repair Harm
Washington, DC — Today, the Senate Committee on Appropriations released the Chairman’s proposed fiscal year 2023 bill for the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) outlining billions of taxpayer dollars that will fund Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) and Customs and Border Protection (CBP). Consistent with the president’s request and House proposal, the Senate bill reduces ICE detention capacity by 26 percent – a major testament to the relentless advocacy of immigrant rights groups. The bill also includes a $15 million divestment from ICE’s budget to the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) and a near $100 million dollar reduction in funding for ICE’s electronic monitoring program.
Still, the bill proposes funding ICE with a $8.13 billion budget and CBP with a $16.4 billion budget. The proposed bill increases CBP’s budget by $1.7 billion, above both the President’s budget request and House proposal, and recommends 300 additional border patrol agents and an additional $50 million for digital border technology.
The Defund Hate Coalition, a coalition of over 60 organizations working to cut funding from ICE and CBP, issued the following statement:
“Our community is excited to see that our decades of organizing has an impact and are relieved that this bill would lessen some of the harm inflicted by ICE. This is the time to remain bold and defend our wins as a movement, which has successfully made the case to shrink immigrant incarceration as a step towards abolition. The inclusion of these progressive reductions is testament to the organizing power of communities. It is becoming more and more clear that Congress has the power to fund government agencies in ways that ensure that people navigating their immigration cases can do so with their loved ones in community—not behind bars in immigration detention and not surveilled electronically.
“As we celebrate some of these wins, as well as the $200 million transfer to the Department of the Interior and Department of Agriculture for mitigating the environmental harms caused by border wall construction, we remain deeply concerned by the increased funding this bill would provide CBP and the ever-increasing militarization of border communities by federal and state governments. This comes on the heels of the Pentagon’s plans to reprogram billions to deploy military personnel and surveillance technology to the border. We continue to demand deep cuts to CBP and total demilitarization of the border regions. Cutting funds to CBP is more urgent as a recent national poll conducted by the U.S. Immigration Policy Center at the University of California in San Diego found that a majority of voters do not trust Border Patrol and three-fourths believe agents should be held accountable when they commit civil and constitutional violations.
“We urge Congress to cement these necessary cuts to ICE funding in the final negotiations and listen to community demands and reasonable policy makers demanding cuts to CBP’s bloated border enforcement budget. Our country’s enforcement-centered approach to immigration has only proven to dehumanize families, friends, and neighbors while denying communities the support they need. This appropriations cycle is Congress’s annual opportunity to do right by our communities and to chart a different future for our country. We look forward to working with legislators as negotiations continue.”
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.