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For Immediate Release

UWD Staff

Defund Hate: Humane Immigration Starts With Dramatically Defunding ICE and CBP. President Biden’s Proposed Budget Fails to Do That.

Tara Tidwell Cullen, NIJC, ttidwellcullen@heartlandalliance.org, (312) 833-2967
Tori Bateman, AFSC, 267-797-3986, tbateman@afsc.org
Anabel Mendoza, United We Dream, anabel@unitedwedream.org
Contact: José Alonso Muñoz | jose@unitedwedream.org | 202.810.0746

Washington, DC — The Defund Hate campaign responded to President Biden’s initial topline budget proposal for Fiscal Year 2022 demanding the administration implement dramatic cuts to U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) and Customs and Border Protection (CBP) and invest in policies and infrastructure for a more humane immigration system in the final proposal. 

Biden’s FY22 topline budget calls for $52 billion for the Department of Homeland Security (DHS), a slight increase from the Trump administration’s FY21 enacted level. Within DHS, the president asks for $1.2 billion in “border infrastructure,” including border surveillance technology; $345 million for the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services for naturalization and asylum backlogs; and $470 million for Offices of Professional Responsibility to investigate complaints at ICE and CBP. The president also asks for additional funding to expand access to  ICE’s Alternatives to Detention program and enhanced case management services, and an increase in funding for DHS’s Office of Civil Rights and Civil Liberties, which investigates civil rights complaints in immigration detention centers and other areas of DHS. 

The topline proposal does not, however, offer details on how much of the $52 billion the White House is seeking for ICE detention or enforcement operations. The president is expected to issue a full budget request in May.

The Defund Hate campaign’s statement:

“As the first budget proposal of his presidency, President Biden had an opportunity to demonstrate his administration’s commitment to protecting immigrants and investing in the safety, dignity, and humanity of all immigrants by cutting funding to ICE and CBP. Unfortunately, the proposal released today failed to meet this standard and to live up to the promises the President himself has made to build a more humane and just immigration system. While the president’s proposed Fiscal Year 2022 budget does signal some increased investment in oversight, it lacks any significant promises to decrease funding to ICE and CBP, two agencies that have operated with impunity to target and harm Black, brown and immigrant communities.

For far too long, our communities have sounded the alarms on the dangers of ICE and CBP, calling attention to the ways billions of taxpayer dollars to these agencies have translated into the separation of loved ones and families, the detention of thousands in abusive and deadly immigration jails, and the degradation of thriving communities nationwide. The lack of divestment from ICE and CBP reflected in President Biden’s proposed budget ignores these concerns. Let us be clear: no amount of money will ever make ICE and CBP safer for Black, brown and immigrant communities who remain disproportionately profiled, surveilled, detained, and deported at the hands of these agencies. As a coalition, Defund Hate remains committed to fighting for dramatic cuts to ICE and CBP funding in exchange for greater investments in community-based resources that prioritize everyone’s safety, dignity, and humanity. We will always fight to protect our communities and will continue to do everything in our power to urge President Biden to take notice and integrate what our communities are calling for: Defund ICE and CBP.

In the full budget proposal anticipated in May, we expect to see greater investments in community-based, community-supported resources that exist outside of ICE and CBP and are matched by bold reductions in funding for detention and enforcement. This includes prohibiting the use of funds to detain individuals without an individualized consideration for release, ending family detention, providing reparations to border communities and restoring borderlands, restricting harmful border surveillance technologies, providing appointed counsel for people in immigration proceedings, and prioritizing voluntary community-based care outside of DHS in place of incarceration and surveillance.

Real solutions must be based on our values of dignity, freedom, and humanity for all. Time and time again we have seen that bigger budgets for ICE and CBP do not result in better conditions, but rather expose that these agencies are fundamentally flawed. All eyes are on President Biden to do what is right. It’s past time to cut funding to ICE and CBP and protect all immigrant communities.”


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.

Topic(s):Defund Hate

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