With thousands of federal workers on the cusp of a missed paycheck, President Trump staged a televised meeting today in McAllen, Texas, where he and members of his administration repeated the same hateful anti-immigrant rhetoric he has used since his candidacy to attempt to justify a federal government shutdown already taking a toll on American families and communities.
The event was nothing more than a publicity stunt to increase spending for Customs and Border Protection (CBP) and Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE), which according to new media reports today has locked up more than 3,000 more people since about a month ago, even as vital government services are hobbled and workers are furloughed as the shutdown nears its third week. Members of the Defund Hate Coalition call on Congress to hold ICE and CBP accountable for the out-of-control enforcement system and continue refusing to allow migrant lives to be bargaining chips in the president's political game. Elected officials must stand strong in refusing to spend taxpayer dollars to pay for an unpopular border wall and the enforcement and detention system that separates families and hurts communities.
Members of the Defund Hate Coalition issued the following statements:
Mary Small, policy director, Detention Watch Network (DWN):
"Under the cover of a devastating government shutdown, Trump has secretly grown the deadly immigration detention system. This is not just about a hateful wall, this is about Trump's wholesale attack on immigrants including the inhumane and unjust jailing of tens of thousands of immigrants each day. The fight over the wall and immigration detention are intrinsically linked, serving the same racist anti-immigrant agenda. The Senate must stand strong and pass the bill that has already cleared the House."
Heidi Altman, director of policy, National Immigrant Justice Center (NIJC):
"Even in the midst of Trump's shutdown, DHS is secretly expanding its system of jails to lock up more immigrants and families, under the apparent belief that it can raid other parts of the federal budget to cover the cost. Congress must not be bullied by the administration's efforts to make an end run around democracy. It's past time ICE and CBP be held accountable for their actions that harm communities and put children's lives in jeopardy, all while costing taxpayers billions of dollars."
John C. Yang, president and executive director, Asian Americans Advancing Justice | AAJC:
"The reality is that unauthorized border crossings are at a historic all-time low. The President should stop his campaign of fear and misinformation, end this government shutdown, and work in good faith with Congress on immigration solutions that are fair and equitable."
Avideh Moussavian, legislative director, National Immigration Law Center:
"The president's border trip is motivated by a manufactured crisis. We should instead be focused on the tens of thousands of immigrants who are being locked up, including small children who have died in federal government custody, and hundreds of thousands of federal workers are having their paychecks held hostage by a presidential temper tantrum. Members of Congress must stand up to this attempt to extort taxpayer dollars to fund a wasteful, unpopular and immoral anti-immigrant agenda."
Kathryn Johnson, policy advocacy coordinator, American Friends Service Committee:
"President Trump's shutdown is hurting hundreds of thousands of workers and could result in millions of people losing access to crucial government services like housing and food assistance. And spending billions on a cruel and unnecessary border wall redirects resources that should instead be spent on education, infrastructure, and services that actually create safe and healthy communities. It's crucial that Congress follow the will of the people and refuse to spend one more dollar on the wall or militarization of our southern border."
The #DefundHate 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.