ACLU Responds to Department of Homeland Security Budget

February 14, 2019 12:30 pm

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WASHINGTON — A congressional conference committee released its budget for the Department of Homeland Security late last night, just two days before the continuing resolution currently funding the government expires. Should President Trump refuse to sign the legislation, another partial shutdown will begin Friday at midnight.

Lorella Praeli, deputy political director at the American Civil Liberties Union, had the following response:

“Congress understandably wants to spare the American people the pain and uncertainty of another shutdown. But in the members’ quest for compromise, they abdicated their responsibility to rein in DHS for its illegal and unconstitutional behavior, entering into partnership with the Trump administration to grow its detention and deportation force.

“It is stunning that Republicans and Democrats are rewarding the agency responsible for separating children from their parents and expanding its budget after Secretary Nielsen admitted she did not know how many people have died in her custody at a hearing in December.

“This bill increases funding for ICE’s immigrant jails and doesn’t limit its ability to loot other agencies for more money to expand cruel detention conditions and practices. It funnels more unnecessary money into dangerous border technology without privacy safeguards. And while border barrier funding is lower than Trump’s extortionate demand, the 55 miles of new construction will inflict further harm on border communities and migrants seeking asylum.

“Congress had a real opportunity to say no to the wall, agents, and detention and institute meaningful oversight of DHS — but they failed. It has never been more important that this Congress own its constitutional role as a check on the executive branch and use its power of the purse to cut DHS’ funding.”

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