Are We Still in the Trump Years?
Congress Shamefully Fails to Include Protections and Progress in Omnibus, Instead Funding More Hate on Immigration
Washington, D.C. – Yesterday, Congress released text for the 2023 Omnibus Appropriations Bill that continues Trump level detention (enough funding to jail 34,000 people), includes funding for 300 additional CBP officers, and keeps funding levels for enforcement-based monitoring programs, all while failing to include protections for immigrants. The budget is a shameful failure on the part of Congress to meaningfully invest in an immigration system that centers our collective values of dignity, respect, and humanity for all.
Despite the overall enforcement-centered framework of the bill, Defund Hate is pleased to see the creation of a new $800 million Shelter and Services grant fund which will move funds out of CBP into FEMA to fund localities and non-governmental organizations providing critical and life-saving services to migrants newly arriving to the United States. This community investment adopts recommendations put forth by the Defund Hate coalition in our transformative budget.
Organizations from The Defund Hate Campaign – a coalition that organizes to defund Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) and Customs and Border Protection (CBP) said the following about the current bill:
Cynthia Garcia, Director of the Community Protection Program at United We Dream, said:
“During the Trump years we heard all the right words from Democrats. Yet over the last three years when they’ve been in power and had the opportunity to do the right thing, they’ve continued the vicious cycle of denying immigrants protections, while investing in a punitive, inhumane and racist immigration system along with Republicans. Moral platitudes don’t serve our community, many of whom will now spend the holiday season separated from their families because of detention and deportation, while others will spend in fear of what may be to come as the deportation force gets billions more. This is not the way forward and we will continue to organize to truly defund hate, and invest in programs that prioritize everyone’s full humanity.”
Luba Cortes, Immigrant Defense Coordinator at Make the Road New York, said:
“Our communities believed that under a new administration, we would see significant changes to the ever-growing enforcement budget, but the numbers released today continue to uplift Trump-era quotas. We are disheartened that this Congress continues to fail in keeping our families together and rather invest in a deeply flawed hyper-militarized immigration system. We have yet to see any fundamental changes in this administration and will continue to push for a just and equitable immigration system.”
Alliyah Lusuegro, Outreach Coordinator for the National Priorities Project at the Institute for Policy Studies, said:
“When will our leaders prioritize the lives of immigrants and invest in essential domestic programs over funneling more money into violence? This budget perpetuates injustices in immigration and disregards domestic needs. The increases in ICE and CBP funding, unnecessary detention beds and border patrol personnel allow violent, abusive conditions to continue to harm immigrant families and communities. The deal funds our brutal immigration system at many times the level of programs to end homelessness, and Pentagon and nuclear weapons alone are promised an astounding $858 billion. The same level of investment could instead support transformative anti-poverty and climate initiatives.”
Kim Lamberty, Executive Director of the Quixote Center said:
“Immigration policies based in deterrence have never been effective, but only serve to harm and endanger the lives of immigrants. In preparing for a changing landscape, our elected officials should be investing in community-based solutions and public services that can welcome vulnerable people and families fleeing from danger with dignity and respect, rather than fund an increase to detain, surveil, and deport them. We urge Congress to break this cycle of militarization and abuse, and instead invest in policies that support the lives of everyday people.”
Rabbi Jason Kimelman-Block, Washington Director of Bend the Arc: Jewish Action said:
“This budget’s spending on immigration detention shows a breathtaking lack of imagination on the part of Democrats about how to actually improve our immigration system to one that is humane, rational, and keeps families together. The increases in funding for ICE & CBP also demonstrate willful ignorance about the systemic abuses and lack of accountability of these agencies. We expect and demand that our leaders do much much better for all our communities, especially immigrant families wishing to be a part of this society.”
Imani Cruz, Migration Policy Advocacy Coordinator at American Friends Service Committee (AFSC), said:
“Each dollar appropriated to ICE and CBP is money that harms people in our communities and puts lives at risk. We demand that Congress cut these budgets, especially for increased officers and enforcement, and lower detention numbers. This money is better spent on critical resources that actually help society and demilitarize our border communities.”
The Defund Hate Campaign is led by a coalition of organizations that represent directly impacted immigrant communities, faith leaders, and civil and immigrant rights advocates. We are committed to divestment from Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) and Customs and Border Protection (CBP), agencies that tear apart loved ones and harm our communities. Instead, we want our tax dollars used to strengthen our families and communities. The coalition unites communities across the country to demand that Congress cut funding for ICE and CBP and instead invest our tax dollars in health care, education, and other vital programs that benefit all of us.