Targets of Trump Deportation Force & Congressional Squad Declare Moral and Progressive Path Forward: We Must Defund The Deportation Force Now

Sheridan Aguirre Press Releases

For Immediate Release
Bruna Bouhid | | 202.850.0812
Marlene Peralta |  | 646.601.4267
Lizette Campos | | 240.706.2624 


Washington, D.C. – Today, immigrant families with loved ones in detention and those recently freed from detention camps, together with immigrant youth, progressive and civil rights leaders and Congresswomen Rashida Tlaib (D-MI), Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-NY), Ayanna Pressley (D-MA) and Ilhan Omar (D-MN), joined together to call for cuts in funding for Trump’s deportation force.

Trump wants more dollars and power for the deportation force and we will make the progressive clear: Congress needs to defund the deportation force now.

Jefferson Arpi shares the story of his father Manuel Armando Arpi who has been locked up in a detention camp in Alabama since November 2017.

The day was jam packed with events, including a morning press event with the Congressional Squad, the launch of United We Dream’s The Truth About ICE & CBP report, a petition delivery of over 250,000 signatures, and a celebratory rally in the Russell Senate Office building.

Leading progressive partners such as CREDO Action, Indivisible,, DFA, Church World Service, DailyKos, AFSC, the National Immigration Law Center, Bend the Arc Jewish Action and others who represent millions collected petition signatures and declared with one voice that Congress should keep the government open and reject Trump’s demands for more money, detention camps and deportation agents.

(Top) Congress Members Ayanna Pressley and Rashida Tlaib speak out against the deportation force. (Bottom) Immigrant youth, families with loved ones in detention & progressive allies visit Sen. Schumer’s office to call for the defunding of ICE & CBP

At the press event, Ana Martinez shared the story of Roxana Santos, immigrant mother with CASA who was racially profiled & detained by ICE. About her experience, Santos said:

“I am happy that I am back with my kids.The trauma of being detained will always be there with me but being with my children brings me joy. I still have nightmares of my experience being detained, I still hear the sound of the chains and the loud door locking behind me. Nobody should have to endure these conditions.”

Lorenza Garcia, member of Make the Road New Jersey, said:

“As ICE continues to escalate attacks on immigrants — separating our families at the border, causing our children to die after being detained, and increasing raids at homes and workplaces across the country —we join the call to defund this rogue and dangerous agency.”

Jefferson Arpi, son of Manuel Armando Arpi who has been detained in Alabama since November 2017, said:

“My dad was taken from us and is being held in jail just because he wants to live in this country. My mom and us kids need our dad back – this isn’t fair but I know that we can win this fight so that other families don’t have to suffer. They say we can’t do it but if we abolished slavery we can abolish ICE.”

Rahna Epting, Chief of Program MoveOn, said:

“We know that this is about more than just a wall — this is about what a wall symbolizes and the dangerous policies and ideology it is constructed to prop up — a hateful anti-immigrant agenda that Trump and the GOP continue to perpetrate and work hard to legitimize — using outright lies, exaggerations and distorted logic to appeal to division and fear.”

Leah Greenberg, Co-Executive Director at Indivisible, said.

“We stand in solidarity with all immigrants who are currently in detention. A budget is a moral document, and if we look at what the Department of Homeland Security’s budget is being used for, we are failing a moral test. The Department of Homeland Security can’t answer basic questions about people in its custody. This is unacceptable. Congress must cut, not increase, funding for wasteful and abusive immigration enforcement.”

Ana Maria Archila, Co-Executive Director at the Center for Popular Democracy said:

“Trump’s obsession to demonize immigrant families any chance he can is simply outrageous. We will continue to come out in unity, raising our voices until Trump’s deportation force be defunded. This is about human beings, this is about families. Rather than scapegoating innocent families outrageously targeted for being immigrants seeking a better life, we should be focused our resources in ensuring they are safe in the country they now call home.”

Immigrant youth surround the Russell Rotunda in a powerful action to show the faces of the people impacted by ICE and CBP detentions.


United We Dream is the largest immigrant youth-led organization in the nation, a powerful network made up of over 400,000 members and 48 affiliate organizations across 26 states. UWD’s vision is to build a multi-racial, multi-ethnic movement of young people who organize and advocate at the local and national levels for the dignity and justice of immigrants and communities of color in the United States.