The Outgoing Congress Shouldn’t Reward Trump With More Homeland Security Funding

Before Dec. 7, Congress will have to make a decision: Will they reward the department responsible for separating families, jailing immigrants, raiding communities of color, and abusing its power at the border by increasing it budget? Or will they stand up and rein in Trump’s detention and deportation force? 

The Department of Homeland Security is currently funded by a continuing resolution, a short-term bill that extends its budget from last year. It was passed in late September so that Congress could avoid a messy budget fight before the midterm elections. On Dec. 7, it will expire at midnight.

By that time, Congress has to decide how it will fund the government next year — a negotiation that really comes down to how it will fund DHS, as The Washington Post reported. Democratic leader Sen. Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.) is treating funding for a border wall as a foregone conclusion, while Rep. Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.), his counterpart on the House of Representatives side, said on Tuesday she isn't interested in negotiating. Republicans, therefore, are going to try to jam through their anti-immigrant agenda in the last gasp of their majority in the House of Representatives, including increased funding for Immigration and Customs Enforcement and Customs and Border Protection as well as billions of dollars for a border wall. 

This is reprehensible and irresponsible, which is why more than 200 organizations wrote to congressional leadership today asking them to pass another short-term continuing resolution for the department until the new Congress is in place. Agencies like ICE and CBP have long shown that their funding finances immoral and wasteful policies that harm immigrant and borderland communities as well as the American taxpayer. Year after year, these agencies are rewarded with increased funding. But in the wake of family separation — when DHS has yet to reunite all the families it separated — we must demand that members of Congress take a stand.

ICE is functioning as a rogue agency, free from oversight, consistently overspending the budget Congress gave them. Last year, Congress gave them a budget large enough to detain just under 40,000 immigrants. Now, they’re detaining an average of 44,000 immigrants —10 percent more than the funding allows. Even more shocking, there have been no consequences for ICE’s deliberate disregard for Congress.

But it’s not just how much money ICE, along with CBP, receives and overspends — it’s how that money is spent that is the problem. These agencies are the Trump administration’s key tool for terrorizing immigrants. They’re responsible for shamelessly separating families at the border and terrorizing immigrant communities throughout the country with warrantless searches. In the past year alone, they’ve harmed thousands of children who might never recover from the psychological torture of family separation. There are countless accounts of sexual abuse by ICE and Border Patrol agents as well as deaths in detention due to lack of medical or psychological care.

The moral and fiscal disasters, however, extend beyond ICE’s immigration enforcement to CBP’s border-wall construction.

This Congress has already spent more than $2 billion funding Trump's wall. Families and communities directly affected by the wall are barely consulted before their ways of life are devastated. Border walls divide communities and tribal nations, cut through sensitive ecosystems, devastate the environment through flooding and species destruction, eviscerate the rights of private property owners, and contribute to thousands of migrant deaths. Nevertheless, the Senate has allocated an additional $1.6 billion and the House an even more ridiculous $5 billion for border wall construction this fiscal year.

Trump’s pre-election attempts to inflame divisions by creating an immigration crisis underscore how wrong it would be to reward his policies and behavior by further feeding his wall obsession. Even in the minority, Senate Democrats have the power to block more wall funding, and we ask them to fight against sacrificing border residents' futures. Members of Congress have a responsibility to listen to their constituents, who rejected Trump’s anti-immigrant agenda at the ballot box.

Congress should pass a “clean” continuing resolution that would extend current spending levels and not add any additional funding to the more than $2 billion this Congress already allocated for border-wall construction as well as the billions more allocated for detention and enforcement. This would push the final decision of a long-term budget deal for DHS into the next Congress, where it belongs.  

In the end, the choice is theirs: Will they be complicit in the facilitation of policies that abuse immigrants and harm border communities, or will they exercise their constitutional power to speak for the people?

Ask your members of Congress to oppose wall funding and immigration enforcement increases in the 2019 DHS budget. 

View comments (17)
Read the Terms of Use

Anonymous

You are right about AMERICA LAWS being enforced but ACLU is not about America laws. They want to break the law for illegal aliens to stay in America which is becoming a shithole country thanks to ACLU and illegal aliens.

Anonymous

Homeland security is multifocal. Give me a break. The Coast Guard is homeland security and so is the FBI. They have caught more bad people than the debacle at the border. The immigrant policies should not have included Homeland Security. The mess the White House has made of the budget is worse than expected. ICE and Border security have been known to do mean, nasty things to people here legally. When everyone is dumped at the border and budgets are cut to finance fear, then, we have a problem.

a recent immigr...

Haphazard, inconsistent and selective application of law is indeed one of the greatest ills of the United States' law enforcement model. ACLU's efforts to fix our law-enforcement system and our prisons is one of the reasons I have been an ACLU member and supporter since before I became a U.S. citizen. With regard to immigration enforcement, I am afraid ACLU's position is deeply flawed. The right way to fix immigration enforcement is to build the wall, double border protection personnel, increase interior enforcement 10-fold, drastically speed up adjudication and removal procedures, and remove 70-80% of current illegal immigrants within 10 years. Select the 20-30% who will be allowed to remain (but never gain citizenship) based on a competitive process that takes into account their education, work and criminal histories. Take it from a person who has been through most circles of U.S. immigration hell and has seen what ills our immigrant communities from the inside.

AnonymouS

You seem to be completely mistaken. The flaw you describe it a virtue. Only a person who hacks the good works of noble people following the Constitution of the Untied States, would think that walls are the method to address your ridicules point of view. You see, most of the people who have abused citizens-immigration laws don't cross over the border, they'd fly into the country and then didn't renew their status. The wall was a false gambit used by Trump to tap into your and others' bigotry, and we know this because the aspect of addressing immigration and asylum has been working well for the eight years prior. The reduction of illegal immigration had been doing well with results showing the lowest numbers due to existing policies and enforcement before Trump took office. The ills you refer to are recently self-made, and don't really add much to the story, you are flaming a false story and it's apparent to everyone. The zero-tolerance immigration program initiated by DHS is a zero-sum gambit to make a problem appear even worse, as greater populations of asylum seekers are housed in camps at large tax payer expense to private contractors in I believe thirteen states. The last 18 months have created an immigration hell that didn't have to be as bad as it is, were it not for the Trump lies that you seem to have bought -- bait, hook and sinker.

Anonymous

ACLU wants to protect the land along the border but the illegal aliens are responsible for the trash on the land. The illegal aliens are responsible for their actions. I love the fact that ACLU never said that illegal aliens are responsible for the trash left there. BUILD THE WALL and put a law for E-VERIFY in every state

Davidharpr

While I agree wholeheartedly with cutting funding for ICE please don’t forget that DHS also contains the Coast Guard. Unfortunately that fine organization has suffered in competition with ICE for budget allocations.

Anonymous

It costs about $20 million in costs to the Coast Guard every time Trump goes to Mar a largo to golf. It costs $200 million to send military assets to the border states to support the shortcomings of ICE under DHS, so that the pentagon will now do tactical operations. It's war and has the costs involved -- Thanksgiving is going to special with the RSO entertainment.

Pages

Stay Informed