Fight Congressional Proposals to Expand Immigration Enforcement and Criminalization

Via National Immigration Project

Congress must pass legislation to fund the government for 2018 called an “appropriations” or spending bill. Congress is now negotiating the details of the 2018  federal spending bill.  Without the passage of a spending bill, the government faces the threat of a shutdown.

 These negotiations also include proposals to help DACA recipients and immigrant youth.  However, the spending bills will likely include immigration enforcement and new criminalization laws that will increase deportations, as well as more funds for immigration jails and interior and border enforcement agents.

Supporting a clean Dream Act means advocating for legal status for DACA recipients and immigrant youth without harmful provisions that will criminalize all immigrants and facilitate mass deportation and mass incarceration.


The time is NOW, to take action to stop the expansion of immigration enforcement.  

 Unless a spending bill is passed before December 8th, the government will be shut down.  However, Congress can enact bills (continuing resolutions) that will keep the government running. It is our understanding that this extension will only last a few short weeks.

Both Democrats and Republicans are under intense pressure to cut a deal and pass a spending bill.  Now is the time to influence these negotiations and show Congress that our communities will say NO to the  expansion of immigration enforcement.


Demand that Congressional Democrats refuse to negotiate provisions that result in more mass deportation and mass incarceration.

Congressional Democrats should not agree to vote for provisions that undercut the rights of immigrants and must reject proposals that result in heavy handed enforcement, mass deportation and mass prosecutions of immigrants. These enforcement proposals will impact all immigrants, including legal permanent residents (aka green card holders) and people with Temporary Protected Status.

Our immigration system is already extremely harsh and operates with little accountability and due process protections. These attempts to add enforcement disregard who immigrants are (a father, a mother, a son, or a daughter), where they come from, and why they were targeted in the first place. In a nation that systematically targets black and brown communities by racial profiling, over-charging, and over incarcerating, it is undeniable that many individuals are over-labeled as “criminals” or “felons” based on class, race, ethnicity, and even citizenship.

 More criminalization and more detention means that this Administration will have more tools to use against our communities.

 Congress must oppose attempts to:

●      Expand federal immigration crimes, like illegal re-entry and harboring, that will lead to mass prosecutions and expand mass incarceration

●      Add more grounds of deportation and mandatory detention which will result in more noncitizens  being deportable 

●      Undermine or limit sanctuary city policies

●       Give more resources for detention beds and more immigration agents 

Call Democratic leaders (listed below) and demand that they oppose any provisions that add more deportation grounds and more ways to expand mandatory detention. 


Call your Representative and demand that they call Democratic Leadership with the clear message that negotiations should not result in provisions that undercut the rights of immigrants by adding more deportation grounds and expanding the criminalization of immigrants.  

 The leaders below are top priorities:

 Sen. Kamala Harris (CA): 202-224-3553, @KamalaHarris

Sen. Dianne Feinstein (CA): 202-224-3841, @SenFeinstein

Congressmember Pelosi, Minority Leader (House) (CA): 202-225-4965, @NancyPelosi

Sen. Schumer (NY), Minority Leader (Senate): 202-224-6542, @SenSchumer

Sen. Dick Durbin (IL): 202-224-2152, @SenatorDurbin


Although no omnibus appropriations bill has been filed, we anticipate that the criminalization proposals listed below are up for negotiation before members of Congress. These criminalization proposals will  increase enforcement against and deportations for ALL noncitizens, including legal permanent residents and people with Temporary Protected Status.  

The threats we oppose:

●      EXPAND federal immigration crimes, like illegal re-entry and harboring, that will lead to mass prosecutions and expand mass incarceration

Several proposals, introduced in “Kate’s Law” bills, create mandatory minimum sentences, grease the wheels for more federal prosecutions, lower the burden of proof for federal immigration crimes, and erases important legal defenses.  For example, some proposals require an illegal reentry conviction to carry a mandatory minimum sentence of 10 years. Although immigrants convicted of illegal re-entry were returning to the United States to rejoin their families, the impact of a conviction for a federal immigration crime is permanent separation. These provisions would also undercut attempts to reform a biased and unfair criminal legal system and ultimately lead to mass prosecutions of immigrants. 


●      ADD more grounds of deportation and mandatory detention, such as gang deportation grounds, that apply to ALL noncitizens 

○      New gang deportation grounds: Trump and Attorney General Sessions have used inflammatory rhetoric vilifying immigrants as gangmembers in order to justify extreme immigration policies and even police misconduct.  As a result, mass raids and deportation of immigrants, particularly Latinx youth, due to their “gang related” activities is ramping up. Over the years, nearly every gang provision introduced by Congress has been  expansive enough to almost automatically deport nearly any group, club or association of individuals.  ICE enforcement relies on police gang databases and taskforces that have come under sharp criticism for their lack of due process, inaccuracies, and racial bias. Our leaders should not vilify youth of color in order to justify pro-incarceration and pro-deportation policies. Members may also try to add more deportation grounds related to domestic violence and DUIs.

●      ATTACKS  sanctuary cities 

Provisions introduced in the “Kate’s Law” bills will attack sanctuary cities by taking away funding or making cities financially liable for having a sanctuary city policy. Sanctuary cities are critical sites of resistance against the Trump Administration’s extreme anti-immigrant and mass incarceration policies. These laws would retaliate against cities and states who want their own pro-immigrant policies.  Moreover, Kate’s Law will also give a pass to racial profiling against immigrant communities because its impact will be to force police departments to report immigrants to ICE.  

●       GIVES billions of dollars to the Department of Homeland Security for detention beds, a border wall, and more ICE and CBP agents 

For decades, the government has put millions of immigrants behind bars. Our oppressive, inhumane and deadly system of detention has become even bigger, less transparent and less accountable under an explicitly anti-immigrant and racist administration. The Trump administration has previously demanded to increase daily detention by thousands of possible and asked for thousands of new agents on the ground. 

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