United States – Last week, the White House sent a request to Congress for supplemental funding for the last three months of 2023 which included more than two billion additional dollars for the U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS). This funding would create new, and misleadingly named, “community-based residential centers” that would essentially reinstate a new form of family detention, bolster funds for harmful surveillance and data sharing, and facilitate the rapid deportations of migrants exercising their legal right to seek asylum. For FY24, President Joe Biden had already requested nearly $25 billion for U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) and U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE).
The Defund Hate campaign, a coalition of groups that analyze and advocate for decreased funding to ICE and CBP, offers the following statement:
“The Biden administration’s own standards and promises of a fair and humane immigration system are still egregiously ignored as it continues with its request for supplemental funding for ICE and CBP. Their letter outlined the request to increase and reinstate numerous harmful and inhumane facets of border enforcement that are not the solution to keeping our communities safe. The unconscionable waste of taxpayer dollars is evidenced by a new NPR investigation that exposed how experts hired by DHS’ Office for Civil Rights and Civil Liberties have reported for years on ‘barbaric,’ ‘negligent,’ and “unsafe and filthy” conditions in dozens of ICE detention centers, including racist abuse of people in ICE custody, inappropriate pepper-spraying of mentally disabled individuals and other problems that, in some cases, contributed to deaths.
The administration and Congress must change course, especially considering the recent atrocities in the Texas Rio Grande, where Texas state police empowered to patrol the border were ordered to push small children and nursing babies back into the Rio Grande, and told not to give water to asylum seekers suffering in extreme heat. These horrifying policies show the real harm underlying the current xenophobic and racist language and attitudes towards migrants and the border. Congressional leaders must not continue to perpetuate policies driven by anti-immigrant animus, but rather embrace migrants with dignity and respect, as well as value the enormous contributions migrants make to the United States.
The administration has a moral obligation to adhere to our nation’s stated values by shaping an immigration system that welcomes, respects, and honors the rights and dignity of all people. While the coalition supports additional funds for the Shelter and Services Program, we are certain that this program must be moved out of CBP’s purview. To ensure that no additional taxpayer dollars are spent on intentionally harming immigrants and border communities, Congress must exercise their ‘power of the purse’ and reject this additional funding request for ICE and CBP.”