Defund Hate Campaign Kicks Off National Day of Advocacy With Nearly 50 Meetings With Members of Congress to Demand They Divest From ICE and CBP

Anabel Mendoza Press Releases

For Immediate Release
Contact: Anabel Mendoza | anabel@unitedwedream.org

Washington, D.C.Today, the Defund Hate coalition officially kicked off its National Day of Advocacy where over 150 community members and local partners across the country met with their members of Congress and Congressional staff to demand they dramatically cut funding to Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) and Customs and Border Protection (CBP). Throughout the day, Defund Hate led nearly 50 in-district meetings across 20 states to urge Congress to decrease overall spending going to ICE and CBP, invest in community-based support programs that prioritize everyone’s full humanity, and pass a final negotiated Fiscal Year 2022 bill that significantly cuts funding for immigration detention and border technology infrastructure. 

Cynthia Garcia, National Campaigns Manager for Community Protection at United We Dream, said:

“Today, hundreds of directly impacted immigrants, allies and partners made our voices and demands to Congress clear: This is a pivotal year for Congress to shift the direction they have historically chosen by dramatically divesting from ICE and CBP. Year after year, Congress wastes roughly $25 billion of our taxpayer dollars for ICE and CBP to heartlessly tear apart families and jail immigrants in unsanitary, abusive conditions. While Black, brown and immigrant communities have endured the brunt of ICE and CBP’s violence, these two agencies violate everyone’s right to a community where we all have access to vital resources, including health care, and green infrastructure. Congress has the power to stop this and to invest in the issues that matter most to us. We’re demanding they use that power to match the resilience of our communities and defund hate.”

Sarah Rich, Senior Supervising Attorney at SPLC Action Fund, said:

“Every day we work with people directly impacted by ICE and CBP and every day it grows clearer that these agencies are failing to live up to our values and that funding must be diverted to more productive and humane programs. We should be investing in communities rather than in immigrant detention and failed border ‘protection’ efforts. We are proud to be part of this effort to make sure Members of Congress hear our voice and the voices of those we represent. It is through this sort of advocacy that we will finally be able to ensure meaningful change from the harmful policies of the past.”

Layla Razavi, Deputy Executive Director at Freedom for Immigrants, said:

“Communities in every corner of the country are waking up to the need to end the abusive immigration detention system, and it’s time Congress joined them. Our elected leaders must make the most of this critical opportunity to pass a budget that divests taxpayer dollars away from detention and instead invests in our capacity to be a welcoming nation. No matter how we arrived in the United States, we are all deserving of justice, liberty, and human rights. But continued funding of ICE and CBP would undermine these values and lead to more abuse. Congress must pass a budget that champions our shared values – one that prioritizes community and care over detention and abuse.”

Luis Suarez, Advocacy Manager at Detention Watch Network, said:

“Today people across the country will make clear the devastating impact ICE and CBP have on their community, demanding members of Congress cut funding for the abuse ridden agencies, a message that Congress has thus far failed to recognize. In July the House Committee on Appropriations passed a draft appropriations bill for DHS that proposed funding for ICE to detain an average daily population (ADP) of 28,500 people—more than the 25,292 people detained as of August 13th, and much higher than the approximately 15,000 people who were in detention when President Biden took office. This is unacceptable. Congress has the power and the resources to ensure that people navigating their immigration case can do so with their families and with their community—not behind bars in immigration detention.  Members of Congress must unite with communities nationwide demanding to cut funding for ICE and CBP.”

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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. Instead, 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.