Detention Watch Network Demands Biden and Congress Reject Cruel, Anti-Immigrant Concessions and Supplemental Funding for DHS

For Immediate Release: 
Friday, December 8, 2023

Washington, DC – New reports indicate that the Biden administration has signaled willingness to use immigrants as bargaining chips to push through his October funding request. The latest negotiations of Biden’s $105 billion supplemental funding request, including $8.7 billion in additional funding for the Department of Homeland Security (DHS), indicate that the deal in discussion would effectively implement an asylum ban by creating near-impossible barriers to applying for asylum, drastically expand rapid deportation proceedings, and undermine humanitarian and other forms of parole.

In response to this news, Setareh Ghandehari, Advocacy Director of Detention Watch Network, issued the following statement:

“We wholly reject the White House’s supplemental funding request and demand that the administration and Members of Congress steadfastly reject any anti-immigrant tradeoffs that would change asylum standards, expand expedited removal, or curb parole authority. Such a cruel and craven concession to Republicans would leave an enduring stain on President Biden’s legacy.

“These permanent policy changes would have devastating consequences for immigrants in the United States, those at the border and across neighboring countries, jeopardizing the lives of vulnerable people seeking safety and breaking families apart. The harm will fall disproportionately on Black, brown, Indigenous, and LGBTQI refugees who are already marginalized globally.

“These anti-immigrant concessions are unacceptable, inhumane, and send a dangerous message that immigrant and refugee lives are expendable. We condemn any and all attempts to use immigrants as a bargaining chip for international military aid and are deeply outraged and alarmed that the Biden administration has signaled that it is willing to do so.

“We are also acutely aware of how this deal would dramatically increase detention numbers. The supplemental funding request already includes $8.7 billion for Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) and Customs and Border Protection (CBP) to drastically increase surveillance, enforcement, and detention in the interior and at the border. The additional policy changes will only lead to more detention and surveillance. 

“We continue to demand that Congress firmly reject the entire supplemental request, which will only serve to fuel the cruel and inhumane detention, enforcement, and deportation systems. We demand the Biden Administration cease sacrificing immigrant lives for political gain and reject any dehumanizing concessions that would destroy asylum and the safety of thousands of migrants.” 

Detention Watch Network (DWN)
is a national coalition building power through collective advocacy, grassroots organizing, and strategic communications to abolish immigration detention in the United States.