Washington, DC — Yesterday, American Friends Service Committee, Detention Watch Network and United We Dream activists converged on Capitol Hill to confront Members of Congress to publicly commit to not a penny for Trump’s Department of Homeland Security (DHS). Congress is scheduled to vote by the end of the week on federal government funding for the rest of the fiscal year. Negotiations include the administration’s request for an additional $3 billion for DHS which would bankroll the deportation force, mass detention of immigrants and the border wall.
“The U.S. system of mass detention and deportation and border militarization already violates basic human rights and dignity, devastates families, causes thousands of deaths, and terrorizes communities on the border and across the country,” said Kathryn Johnson, Policy Impact Coordinator with the American Friends Service Committee. “It’s extraordinarily disappointing that some Democrats are considering voting for additional funding for this system. We had the opportunity to get commitments from some Senators that they would oppose this disastrous proposal, and we hope all of them will do the right thing and vote no on any additional funding.”
Activists video-recorded Senator Leahy (D-VT), Senator Baldwin (D-WI) and Senator Durbin (D-IL) and spoke with Senator Kaine (D-VA) who all committed to denounce Trump’s anti-immigrant agenda by refusing to fund the administration’s building of the wall and ramp up of the detention and deportation machine.
“Today we demanded a commitment from members of Congress to block funding that will go directly towards terrorizing immigrant communities,” said Danny Cendejas, Organizing Director at Detention Watch Network. “In addition to the wall and deportation force, this money will expand a detention system that has already proven to be deadly. If Congress chooses to support this reckless and dangerous expansion, they will share in full responsibility—and accountability from their constituents.”
Today’s action was an escalation of ongoing efforts that began in early April, when Detention Watch Network and United We Dream delivered 290,000 petition signatures gathered by Detention Watch Network, United We Dream, CREDO, ACLU, Church World Service and America’s Voice.
Deyanaira Aldana, Organizer with United We Dream said, “Our message to Members of Congress from both parties is that they must reject money for Trump’s detention camps and deportation force. If they support it, or any phony deal to pour money into these things they will own the fear in my heart and the deportations of families like mine. While we were delivering this message in the halls of Congress, United We Dream members were making about 200 visits to Members of Congress in their districts calling on them to stand up with immigrants and stand up for our values.”
American Friends Service Committee Founded in 1917, the American Friends Service Committee (AFSC) is a Quaker organization that promotes lasting peace with justice, as a practical expression of faith in action. Drawing on continuing spiritual insights and working with people of many backgrounds, we nurture the seeds of change and respect for human life that transform social relations and systems. Visit www.afsc.org. Follow @afsc_org.
Detention Watch Network (DWN) is a national coalition of organizations and individuals working to expose and challenge the injustices of the United States’ immigration detention and deportation system and advocate for profound change that promotes the rights and dignity of all persons. Founded in 1997 by immigrant rights groups, DWN brings together advocates to unify strategy and build partnerships on a local and national level to end immigration detention. Visit www.detentionwatchnetwork.org. Follow @DetentionWatch.
United We Dream (UWD) is the largest immigrant youth-led organization in the nation, a powerful nonpartisan network made up of 55 affiliate organizations in 26 states. UWD organizes and advocates for the dignity and fair treatment of immigrant youth and families, regardless of immigration status. We seek to address the inequities and obstacles faced by immigrant youth and believe that by empowering immigrant youth, we can advance the cause of the entire community—justice for all immigrants. You can find more about UWD online at www.unitedwedream.org.