More than 200 Organizations Call on Congressional Leadership to Reject Funding Increases for Immigration Enforcement During Lame Duck, Cut Funding in 2019

Signers call on Congress to reject any funding deal that will allow a corrupted and abusive Department of Homeland Security to further militarize the border and harm immigrant communities.

WASHINGTON, DC — More than 200 non-governmental and advocacy organizations sent a letter to congressional leadership today in advance of the December 7th expiration of the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) budget, calling for bold leadership in support of immigrant communities already suffering under the Trump administration’s bloated immigration enforcement apparatus.

Specifically, the letter calls for a short-term continuing resolution that does not increase the DHS budget for FY 2019 during the lame duck session, with a commitment to cut enforcement funds in a permanent spending deal next year

“Any increase in funding will facilitate family separations, cause irreparable harm to the border region, and incentivize mass detention and deportation—policies that tear apart the fabric of our families and communities,” the letter reads. “We cannot treat funding for immigration detention and enforcement or border wall construction like business as usual.”

Addressing Leader McConnell, Speaker Ryan, Minority Leader Pelosi, and Democratic Leader Schumer, signatories asked for Congress to pass a “clean” short-term continuing resolution that would extend current spending levels and not add any additional funding to the more than $2 billion already allocated for border militarization and more than $4 billion allocated for detention and enforcement. Furthermore, groups would not support any long-term budget deal without cuts to the DHS budget, with reductions to immigration enforcement, and no increase to allocations for a wall at the southern border.

“Border walls divide communities and tribal nations, cut through sensitive ecosystems, devastate the environment, threaten wildlife, eviscerate the rights of private property owners, cause catastrophic flooding, and contribute to thousands of migrant deaths,” advocates emphasize. “The $5 billion for border wall contained in the House FY 2019 DHS appropriations bill would cause even more harm,” as well as create a virtually bottomless fund from which the Administration could carry out its anti-immigrant policies. “In essence, the billions of dollars earmarked for a wall could quickly become a piggy bank for unilateral administration policies such as jailing children. We have seen ICE abuse its transfer and reprogramming authority by ushering $200 million from other parts of DHS into its detention and removal apparatus.”

The letter also calls for “urgently needed oversight of the billions of border wall dollars identified by the Government Accountability Office as lacking cost-benefit and effectiveness analysis.”

##NNIRR joined the 200+ groups sending this letter to Congress. Read the letter here: