‘Unprincipled’ –  As Far Right Hate Intensifies, Compromise Proposals Would Inflict Immeasurable Harm on Immigrants

United States – Over the past month, Democratic leaders in the U.S. Congress have released immigration policy proposals that make trade-offs jeopardizing thousands of people’s lives, and will likely funnel billions more taxpayer dollars to Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) and Customs and Border Protection (CBP). Whether these proposals are concessions to far-right hatred or commitments to a dangerously misguided bipartisan “border security” framework, they fail to recognize the common humanity of all people and are gross mismanagements of taxpayer dollars.

Last week, Representative Salazar and Representative Escobar introduced the ‘Dignity Act. ’ This bill would adopt the tried and failed approach of countering pathways to status, however limited, with massive increases in harmful enforcement. Despite its name, the bill would bring back a form of family detention; unfairly expedite asylum screenings; expand wasteful and failed border militarization policies, including $25 billion for border wall construction and surveillance technologies; undermine decades of domestic and international asylum law; and systematically profile and exclude victims of gang violence. It would also force families to pay up to $10,000 in new fees and penalties to access a 17-year-long path to citizenship; to add insult to injury, the government would put those fees toward life-threatening border wall construction.

Unfortunately, other initiatives members of Congress have proposed follow a similar framework, from the supplemental funding proposal cosponsored by Senators Durbin, Peters, Padilla, and Brown that funds a law enforcement response to migration and increases military presence in border communities, to Senator Menendez’s plan, which trades limited asylum processing for rapid deportations. Despite decades of this demonstrably failed and inhumane approach, members of Congress are continuing to double down and waste billions of taxpayer dollars every year on cruel and ineffective policies.

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

“As organizations that represent millions of people impacted by this country’s inhumane and ineffective immigration system, we will not be baited into supporting immigration policy proposals that pit limited opportunities for relief against expansive growth of the deadly enforcement regime. The cruelty of these policy proposals speaks for itself – they are unprincipled and cowardly at a time when we desperately need bold leadership and truly humane solutions. The U.S. Congress must immediately protect immigrant and border communities from the rise of racist, anti-immigrant violence and toxic politics by rejecting these legislative efforts, long opposed by immigrant and border communities. We refuse to leave anyone in our communities behind. Even status-quo immigration policies are violent and unsustainable and, if continued, will run dry every resource that could make U.S. communities healthier and safer. We will continue demanding Congress immediately cut funding to ICE and CBP and take a transformative approach to spending taxpayer dollars.”


The #Defund Hate 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.

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