Leading Advocates Call for Congress to Reject Border Wall Funding, Increased DHS Budget

For Immediate Release: 
Tuesday, December 11, 2018

Washington, DC — As Democratic congressional leadership heads to the White House to negotiate Department of Homeland Security funding with President Trump, leading civil rights, faith, immigrant rights, and advocacy organizations called for a rejection of Trump’s border wall and demand cuts in funding for Immigration and Customs Enforcement and Customs and Border Protection in the coming fiscal year.

The Defund Hate coalition is comprised of national, state, and local groups totaling millions of people in membership, all of whom urge their elected representatives to heed their ask that they not acquiesce to the White House’s demands.

Defund Hate coalition members made the following statements:

Faiz Shakir, National Political Director, American Civil Liberties Union:

“The White House has continually sent the message to communities it deems powerless—namely, communities of color—that, ‘we will ban you, detain you, deport you, surveil you, separate you, and wall you out.’ This past fiscal year, Congress explicitly warned ICE that it must  ramp down its detention of just over 40,000 immigrants—an all-time high. In a direct rebuke to Congress, ICE increased its jailing of immigrants by an incredible ten percent, to 44,000. Worse still, CBP, the agency that separated families at the border and tear gassed toddlers, is  claiming it needs more money from Congress to carry out its work. Trump’s border and deportation force is out of control, with no oversight or accountability, yet DHS insists the agency deserves get a raise and Congress seems prepared to give it one, without much of a fight from Members who profess to care about immigrant communities. It’s time for real conviction from our leaders, not ‘finger in the wind’ cowardice.”

Mary Small, Policy Director, Detention Watch Network:

“For far too long, our representatives have said they care about immigrant communities while simultaneously funding aggressive immigration enforcement and deadly immigration jails. Our elected officials must divest from ICE and CBP, agencies that are the bedrock of the anti-immigrant agenda. This includes a full rejection of Trump's outrageous anomaly request which would funnel billions more into these unaccountable and dangerous agencies. Members of Congress must instead support critical education, housing and health care programs that taxpayers care about rather than bankrolling Trump’s white nationalist anti-immigrant agenda.”

Angel Padilla, National Policy Director, Indivisible:

“We urge Democrats to reject any additional funding for Trump’s racist border wall or amped border security. Trump made the midterms into a referendum on his anti-immigrant agenda, and Americans overwhelmingly rejected Trump’s racist and xenophobic policies. It’s time for Congress to listen to voters. It is time to stop the suffering that this administration has caused and Democrats can demonstrate their courage and support for immigrants families and communities by standing firm against Trump.”

Richard Morales, Policy Director of LA RED, a campaign of Faith in Action:

“More than 1,000 clergy and faith leaders from all 50 states and Washington, D.C., have signed a letter to congressional leaders, urging them to defund the administration’s hateful and dehumanizing immigration policies. They, like the rest of our nation, have not forgotten the shrieking cries of children being separated from their parents at the border this summer, or photos of children and mothers being tear gassed near a border crossing. Agency chiefs who waged inhumane enforcement tactics have not been held accountable; to the contrary, the president is demanding $5 billion as a downpayment for an inefficient border wall, plus millions more to greatly expand immigrant detention beds. Meanwhile, DACA and TPS temporary permit holders live in limbo, waiting for reprieve from Trump’s orders that they be deported. The president created the moral crisis regarding immigrants and Congress can stop it by rejecting Trump’s demand for wasteful spending on DHS’ cruel policies.”

Heidi Altman, Policy Director, National Immigrant Justice Center:

“DHS has repeatedly shown its disregard for U.S. law and human rights, and it’s up to Congress to hold them accountable. ICE and CBP are blocking people from seeking asylum at our border, churning out asylum ban policies they know are illegal, and turning away children who come alone to our border seeking safety. Meanwhile, people continue to get swept up from communities across our country and locked in DHS’s immigration jails, where medical neglect and other abuses are rampant. We need our representatives in Congress to stop this cycle of abuse, cut funding for ICE and CBP, and invest that money in programs that truly support all our communities.”

Vicki B. Gaubeca, Director of the Southern Border Communities Coalition said:

“We urge Democratic Leaders Nancy Pelosi and Chuck Schumer to demonstrate courage, and reject additional funding for the further militarization of the southern border in the form of more border agents, detention beds, and funding for Trump’s wall. Even $1.3 billion on more wall is too much. The Trump administration manufactured a crisis at the border, one of the safest places in the nation, to justify wasting billions of taxpayers dollars on harmful and dangerous walls. There are REAL crises in our nation, such as the lack of potable water in places like southern New Mexico, the need for improved health care for all, and the crumbling infrastructure throughout the country. Border walls -- whether they are concrete walls, levee walls, or 18-feet bollard fencing -- are deadly and damaging to our communities, our borderlands, and our wildlife. The 15 million people who call the southern border home are tired of the daily assaults on our quality of life. It’s time to revitalize not militarize our communities.”

Sanaa Abrar, Advocacy Director of United We Dream:

“For two years now, we’ve seen first hand how far Trump and his anti-immigrant administration will go to fulfill their mass deportation agenda. From killing DACA and TPS, to separating children from their parents, and now to tear gassing families and children seeking asylum at the border. This is the result of hateful policies and billions of dollars being given for years to the deportation force of ICE and CBP and we must end their reign of terror. Congress must stop funding hate, defund ICE and CBP and they must say no to further border militarization.

Our demand lays out the groundwork for the FY2020 appropriations fight ahead when we welcome new progressive leaders to the House, who have a mandate from the American people to reject the wall and push forward humane immigration policies. A clean continuing resolution this year is one step toward actual cuts to ICE and CBP in next year's proposed appropriations bill.”