Washington, DC— As Congress considers Department of Homeland Security (DHS) appropriations for Fiscal Year 2023, today 190 national, state, and local organizations sent a letter to Congressional leadership and members of the appropriations committee urging them to prioritize significant reductions to funding for Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) and Customs and Border Protection (CBP) in a final spending bill.
Last month, President Biden released his FY 2023 budget proposal, which encouragingly included a significant cut to ICE detention from the current average daily population level of 34,000 to 25,000, as well as a decrease in ICE’s enforcement and removal funding. However, the President’s proposal also sought massive increases to ICE’s dangerous e-carceration and surveillance programs and CBP funding, including 300 additional Border Patrol agents and hundreds of millions for invasive border surveillance technology.
The Defund Hate campaign, which organized the letter, issued the following statement:
“The Biden administration came into office making promises, echoed by many in Congress, that provided hope to immigrant and border communities that the harmful cycle of punitive enforcement spending would end. But Black, brown and immigrant communities across the country were dismayed to see the Biden administration continue funding and even expanding the deadly harms of mass immigration enforcement. After nearly half a year of extending Trump-level funding through multiple continuing resolutions, Congress passed an FY 2022 DHS appropriations bill that increased funding for immigration detention, mass surveillance, and border militarization after months of backroom negotiations.
Even as the overwhelming bank of evidence detailing the inherent and irreparable cruelty of ICE detention grows, another area that has seen an enormous and alarming growth in the last year is the funding and implementation of invasive surveillance technologies for enforcement purposes. The FY 2022 DHS appropriations bill included over $435 million for technologies ranging from drones and surveillance towers to facial recognition. Added to this, ICE’s growing reliance on dangerous and punitive surveillance measures, including ankle shackles, facial recognition technology, and geolocation tracking, restricts the civil liberties of immigrants, infringes on privacy rights, and contributes to the widespread physical and mental harm too many in our communities are facing today.
The federal budget should be a moral document that reflects our values. The only way forward is to begin scaling back ICE and CBP’s sprawling infrastructure of jails, agents, and border barriers by cutting their overall budgets. We urge Congress to truly shift away from a punitive response to migration by building off of the cuts indicated in President Biden’s budget proposal and boldly reducing funding for ICE and CBP in their negotiated FY 2023 budget.”