DHS Appropriations Bill Falls Short of Defunding Hate

For Immediate Release: 
Thursday, June 13, 2019

Washington, DC — In response to the FY2020 markup of the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) Appropriations Bill, the Defund Hate coalition released the following statement:

“We welcome long overdue decreases in funding to Customs and Border Protection (CBP), such as no funding for additional border barriers and a prohibition on fund transfers for further barriers, that are proposed in this bill, however these cuts are not enough. CBP’s budget has tripled since its creation 15 years ago and has become notorious for its shocking track record of abuse, neglect and death, including six child deaths since last November.

The bill also does not reduce funding for Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE), where 24 immigrants have died in ICE custody during the Trump administration alone. Although the bill decreases the number of immigrants in ICE detention to 34,000 people each day, the bill also includes a dangerous slush fund overseen by the DHS Secretary which adds funding for 7,500 additional people. Despite ICE’s death toll and the agency’s well-documented pattern of fiscal mismanagement and human rights abuses, the funding bill not only fails to cut funding to ICE, it actually increases ICE’s already massive budget by $81 million.

We welcome the inclusion of key coalition priorities, including a prohibition on transferring funds for border wall construction, additional oversight and accountability, and a prohibition on raiding other accounts within DHS for detention or deportation. Additionally, we applaud the Committee’s adoption of an amendment introduced by Representative David Price (D-NC) that would defund many of the Trump Administration’s most harmful and abusive policies, such as the Muslim Ban and the so-called Migrant Protection Protocols which return asylum seekers to dangerous conditions in Mexico.

While we applaud these advances, we urge Members of Congress to go farther in shaping a new, bold and more just vision for how federal resources are allocated, and ensuring that the House’s final spending bill includes significant cuts in funding to both CBP and ICE. Both agencies’ egregious track records speak for themselves as they carry out the Trump administration’s anti-immigrant, mass deportation agenda. We also call on Congress to hold the line against any funding increases or supplemental requests for more immigration enforcement. Rather than improving conditions, we believe additional funding for these agencies will only lead to more people being held in deadly detention.

Although this bill takes positive first steps by increasing measures to hold DHS accountable for abuses, it does not go far enough to stop the Trump administration’s pursuit of continued expansion of the immigration enforcement apparatus at the expense of immigrant lives and whole communities nationwide.

We call on Members of Congress to significantly cut funding for CBP and ICE.”


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. 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.