‘Bad Across the Board’: Defund Hate Campaign Highlights House Bill as an Abuse of Taxpayer Dollars

Republican Congressional Leaders want to cut services and oversight in favor of more detention and deportation

WASHINGTON Yesterday, the House Appropriations Committee reviewed their proposed bill to fund the U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS) in FY24. The bill would provide DHS with $91.5 billion in discretionary spending, with nearly $10 billion going to U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) and nearly $20 billion going to U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP). This week an 8-year-old child died while in CBP custody. This a stark reminder that increased funding by the billions does not equal better conditions for vulnerable migrants and children.

The proposed funds for CBP include $2.104 billion for border wall construction, $276 million for new border surveillance technologies, and $696.2 million to fund 22,000 Border Patrol agents — the highest ever requested in an appropriations bill.

The proposed funds for ICE include funding an average daily population in ICE detention at 41,000 beds, higher than any level previously appropriated. It also includes $654.8 million for transportation and deportation operations and $2.526 billion for Homeland Security Investigations (HSI).

Additionally, the bill cuts funding to essential services and programs:

  • $800 million cut from the Emergency Food and Shelter-Humanitarian Program and its successor, the Shelter and Services Program
  • $312 million cut from climate change activities and repurposed for “border security” operations
  • $21 million from the Office of the Immigration Detention Ombudsman, eliminating the office
  • $1 million cut from the Office of Civil Rights and Civil Liberties
  • The bill eliminates funding for the Family Reunification Task Force

The Defund Hate campaign, a coalition of groups that analyzes DHS appropriations and advocates for decreased funding to ICE and CBP, offered the following statement:

The House Appropriations proposal for its FY 2024 Homeland Security bill is bad across the board. It is blatantly anti-immigrant and outright inhumane. The bill would drastically increase immigration detention, separating thousands of families and inflicting further cruelties on asylum seekers and harm to border communities. It is also disastrous for the environment, reprogramming $312 million in climate change prevention from the Inflation Reduction Act for “border security,” funding the community-destroying border wall and even prohibiting using funds for electric vehicles. Worse still, it is inhumane and immoral to decimate the Family Reunification Task Force when hundreds of migrant children remain separated from families ripped apart by the Trump administration’s zero-tolerance policy. 

Instead of divesting from wasteful immigration enforcement agencies and programs, the bill increases the DHS budget by over $2 billion. This is the opposite of what the American people want and what they expect from their government. Members of Congress should oppose this legislative approach, support proposals that divest from these hateful measures, and invest in humane processing and reasonable solutions.”

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.