Tri-Caucus Chairs Oppose Republican Appropriations Proposal to Fund Border Wall and Mass Deportation Force

Jul 25, 2018 Issues: Immigration

Washington D.C. – Today, the U.S. House Committee on Appropriations is marking up the Homeland Security Appropriations bill for Fiscal Year 2019, which includes provisions to fund $5 billion for Donald Trump’s border wall, and also provides funding for 400 new Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) officers and an unprecedented number of immigration detention beds. Ahead of the mark up, the Congressional Tri-Caucus Chairs – composed of Congressional Hispanic Caucus (CHC) Chair Michelle Lujan Grisham (NM-01), Congressional Asian Pacific American Caucus (CAPAC) Chair Judy Chu (CA-27), and Congressional Black Caucus (CBC) Chair Cedric Richmond (LA-02) – sent letters to House Appropriations Committee Members urging appropriators to reject the Trump administration’s mass deportation agenda.

“As you consider the Department of Homeland Security’s (DHS) Fiscal Year 2019 Appropriations bill, we urge you to reject the proposed increases in funding for U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE), in particular for immigration detention, ICE agents and the border wall that will enable President Trump to continue building a massive deportation system responsible for the separation of families,” the Members wrote.

They continued: “We ask that the Committee decrease the number of detention beds in our nation’s already overgrown, expensive and inhumane immigration detention system. These detention beds are increasingly being used to detain families, as the number of families apprehended at the border has increased in recent years. Instead of expanding funds to detain families in DHS facilities which the American Academy of Pediatrics has reported, ‘do not meet the basic standards for the care of children in residential settings,’ this Committee should instead re-institute programs like the Family Case Management Program.”

The letter closed by asking the Committee to oppose FY19 funding for the Trump administration’s costly and inhumane mass deportation agenda.

The official letter can be found here.

TEXT OF LETTER

Dear Appropriator:

As you consider the Department of Homeland Security’s (DHS) Fiscal Year 2019 Appropriations bill, we urge you to reject the proposed increases in funding for U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE), in particular for immigration detention, ICE agents and the border wall that will enable President Trump to continue building a massive deportation system responsible for the separation of families. The funding bill would enable the Administration to further increase its indiscriminate enforcement of immigration law that is hurting thousands of families, Dreamers, TPS workers and others who have resided for years in this country.

President Trump requested $46 billion for DHS in his fiscal 2019 budget proposal, and this bill provides more than he requested with $47.4 billion  in discretionary funding for DHS. Instead of adopting proven, cost-effective alternatives to detention, like the Family Case Management Program, this bill increases ICE’s detention bed capacity to an all-time high of 44,000 beds, an increase of 3,480 beds from Fiscal year 2018 and 10,000 beds above Fiscal Year 2016. This bill also provides funding for the hiring of an additional 400 ICE law enforcement officers. The Administration claims that these increases will improve national security, but it will, in fact result in the continued separation and incarceration of families.

We ask that the Committee decrease the number of detention beds in our nation’s already overgrown, expensive and inhumane immigration detention system. These detention beds are increasingly being used to detain families, as the number of families apprehended at the border has increased in recent years.[1] Instead of expanding funds to detain families in DHS facilities which the American Academy of Pediatrics has reported, “do not meet the basic standards for the care of children in residential settings”[2], this Committee should instead re-institute programs like the Family Case Management Program. According to the Department of Homeland Security Office of the Inspector General, this program ensured 100% of program participants attended their court hearings and is the safest, most cost-effective option for children and families.[3]

We urge you to reduce the funding for ICE agents and to reject the increase of 400 ICE law enforcement officers proposed in this bill. As ICE continues to increase the number of arrests of individuals with no criminal conviction, DHS should instead focus its resources on prioritizing actual national security and public safety threats, rather than targeting for removal millions of undocumented immigrants with long-standing ties to communities.[4] We ask that the Committee stop any further militarization of southern border communities and reduce funding for Border Patrol agents.

Finally, we urge the Committee to provide no funding for the border wall. This bill provides $5 billion to build an unnecessary and operationally ineffective wall at our southern border. Furthermore, diverting these taxpayer dollars towards the construction of the border wall cripples our investment in responding to other national security threats making us all less safe.

This Administration’s immigration policies have been devastating to families, and we as members of Congress have a responsibility to mitigate this harm by reducing the funding that goes toward further attacks on our country’s immigrants and their families. We urge you to oppose a costly mass deportation agenda that undermines our public safety, economic well-being and values.

Thank you for your consideration of this request and for your considerable efforts on the FY2019 Appropriations bill.

Sincerely,

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The Congressional Asian Pacific American Caucus (CAPAC) is comprised of Members of Congress of Asian and Pacific Islander descent and Members who have a strong dedication to promoting the well-being of the Asian American and Pacific Islander (AAPI) community. Currently chaired by Congresswoman Judy Chu, CAPAC has been addressing the needs of the AAPI community in all areas of American life since it was founded in 1994.