Detention Watch Network Condemns Trump’s Anti-Immigrant FY 18 Budget

For Immediate Release: 
Tuesday, May 23, 2017

Washington, DC — Yesterday, the Trump administration released their proposed budget for fiscal year 2018. Trump is asking taxpayers to support massive cuts to domestic programs while allocating billions of dollars to put more people behind bars and ramp-up the deportation force that will rip people from their families and tear communities apart.

“Unsurprisingly, Trump’s proposed budget is a continuation of his anti-immigrant agenda,” said Silky Shah, co-director of Detention Watch Network. “The budget is an immoral roadmap that would dramatically expand the deportation force, surveillance dragnet and unjust immigration detention system.”

Regarding immigration detention, Trump’s budget calls for: 

  • 51,379 people per day behind bars in detention, or almost half a million people over the course of the year.
  • 79,000 people per day in surveillance programs such as electronic ankle monitors that widen the immigrant dragnet (up from 21,726 in 2014).
  • A reorganization of the detention system that will decrease or entirely remove standards for the majority of detention facilities, while simultaneously decreasing independent oversight of those same facilities.

“Trump’s effort to restructure the detention system is an attempt to evade detention standards, inspections and oversight,” said Shah. “The detention system is already plagued with abuse and increasing the number of people entering it is not only costly, but a dangerous recipe for more human rights violations and deaths in detention.”

Other major takeaways from the proposed budget include: 

  • $300 million to recruit and hire additional Customs and Border Protection and Immigration and Customs Enforcement officers, agencies notorious for their unaccountability and corruption.
  • $1.6 billion for a needless, offensive, and costly wall, in addition to other harmful border militarization funding.
  • 70 new U.S. Attorneys at the Department of Justice to prosecute people for immigration-related offenses. Immigration prosecutions already comprise an astounding 52 percent of all federal prosecutions.

As Congress evaluates the federal budget, we know the fight to prevent Trump’s agenda from being funded will continue. Congress will need to be much more assertive than they were during the April supplemental funding fight. They should be held accountable for every dollar awarded to implement Trump’s hate-fueled agenda and must vote to drastically decrease DHS’s budget.  “The American people have already drawn a line in the sand,” added Shah. “Taxpayers will not finance an agenda built to terrorize immigrant communities and bolster a nativist ideology.”


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 Follow @DetentionWatch.