Washington, DC — Yesterday, Congress reached a budget deal to fund the federal government through December 7, avoiding a shutdown. Noticeably absent from the continuing resolution package was a last minute request by the Department of Homeland Security (DHS), known as an ‘anomaly,’ to increase funding for Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) to further expand the immigration detention system.
Gabriela Benitez, Senior Organizer of Detention Watch Network issued the following statement:
“ICE’s anomaly request was the latest deceptive practice by the fraught agency to advance Trump’s hate-fueled anti-immigrant agenda. Unsurprisingly, the opposition to the greedy move by ICE was swift and boisterous, as communities across the country demanded Congress reject the request through congressional visits, delivering petition signatures and nationally coordinated call-in days.
The refusal to increase ICE’s funding must be a first step in a sequence of actions by Congress to defund the deadly agency, that has a well documented record of abuse and sustained fiscal mismanagement.
Over the past two years DHS has persistently overspent its detention budget, confident that Congress will permit regular infusions of funds through reprogramming and transfers. Just this summer, congressional appropriators approved a transfer request of more than $200 million from other DHS agencies, like the Federal Emergency Management Agency, to cover this over-spending.
This is the first time Congress has acted as a check on ICE’s chronic manipulation of the funding process and as 45,000 people are currently behind bars in Trump’s detention system, it’s not nearly enough. The american public wants their tax dollars used to strengthen families and communities by investing in education, housing, nutrition and health care programs that provide opportunity and increase well-being,not bankrolling Trump’s xenophobic policies.”
Detention Watch Network (DWN) is a national coalition of organizations and individuals working to expose and challenge the injustices of the United States’ immigration detention and deportation system and advocate for profound change that promotes the rights and dignity of all persons. Founded in 1997 by immigrant rights groups, DWN brings together advocates to unify strategy and build partnerships on a local and national level to end immigration detention. Visit www.detentionwatchnetwork.org.