The transformative budget is evidence that Congress can invest in an immigration system that centers our collective values of dignity, respect, and humanity for all
Washington, DC — Today the Defund Hate Coalition, led by immigrant communities, faith leaders, and civil and immigrant rights advocates, released its 2023 transformative budget proposal on U.S. immigration. The proposal, which comes amidst the federal government’s fiscal year 2023 budget negotiations, provides a critical roadmap for members of Congress to invest funding in a system that welcomes, respects, and honors the human rights and dignity of all immigrants.
For nearly two decades, the federal government has approved massive funding increases for Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) and Customs and Border Protection (CBP), the agencies at the helm of the country’s efforts to target, jail and deport immigrants. Each year, billions of taxpayer dollars fuel a punitive, inhumane, and racist immigration system that has separated thousands of loved ones, caused hundreds of deaths, and wreaked destruction at U.S. borders, all while siphoning resources away from real community needs and support programs that prioritize everyone’s full humanity.
In March, the Biden administration released its proposed FY23 budget, which requested expanding the number of Border Patrol agents by 300, increasing funding for CBP to over $15 billion, and increasing funding for ICE’s dangerous surveillance technology programs to over $527 million.
Defund Hate joins in the long tradition of calling for institutional resource divestment as a strategy to both break down the machinery that perpetuates systemic harm and redefine our approach to migration with a lens of humanity and justice. The Defund Hate coalition’s recommendations to Congress on a transformative budget include:
- Investing in voluntary community-based services: Divesting from ICE Enforcement and Removal Operations, immigration detention, surveillance programming, ICE agents, and law enforcement collaboration programs, and instead, investing in voluntary community-based services that facilitate navigation of individuals’ immigration cases, rehabilitation and reentry support, funding for just economic transitions, and redress for harm done.
- Investing in reparations for impacted communities: Divesting from Border Patrol, policing infrastructure in the border regions, physical and virtual border barriers, CBP detention, and mass militarization at our borders, and instead investing in reparations to impacted lands and communities, rights-respecting border management, and true emergency humanitarian assistance.
- Investing in a trauma-informed asylum system: Divesting from enforcing anti-asylum policies, prosecuting 1325 and 1326 violations, and ordering removals without due process, and instead, investing in creating a trauma-informed asylum system, ensuring access to counsel, removing barriers to navigating the immigration system, and redeterminations for people with removal orders.
On the release of the updated Transformative Budget Proposal, advocates from the Defund Hate Coalition said:
Gabriela Viera, Advocacy Manager at Detention Watch Network, said:
“ICE and CBP are agencies founded on racist, dehumanizing laws that allow our government to criminalize immigrants, militarize the border region, incarcerate and deport millions of people, and further marginalize and profile people of color. Divesting from ICE and CBP is part of divesting from the U.S.’ militarized budget, from our policing system and prison industrial complex, and from the institutions that most heavily harm Black, brown, Indigenous, and poor communities in this country and all over the world. Investing in public services that support everyone’s ability to live whole and secure lives is part of repairing this harm and building strength among us all.”
Cynthia Garcia, Director of the Community Protection Program at United We Dream, said:
“The Defund Hate campaign’s transformative budget proposal proves that investing in the types of humanitarian assistance that allow people to migrate to this country with humanity, dignity, and in community has always been an option for Congress. Our transformative budget makes it abundantly clear that communities are ready and eager for our government to adopt a just vision for the future of immigration that sees the inherent humanity and right to move and migrate of everyone. Members of Congress who prioritize a budget that invests in more enforcement rather than the well-being of immigrant communities are willfully choosing to fund anti-Black violence, family separation, and the continued harm of communities across the country. They have the ability, right now, to choose differently; to choose a transformative budget.”