ACLU Statement On FY24 Appropriations Bill Funding Immigrant Detention, Anti-Immigrant Policies

March 21, 2024 7:00 pm

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WASHINGTON, D.C. – The second package of final Fiscal Year 2024 appropriations bills in the U.S. House of Representatives fails to rein in wasteful and harmful spending by Immigrations and Customs Enforcement (ICE) and Border Patrol, two of the nation’s largest law enforcement agencies. This six-bill spending package will allow ICE to continue to hold tens of thousands of people in detention sites with records of serious human rights abuses, among a series of other harmful impacts including:

  • Funding the detention of 41,500 people at a time, which is 7,500 above the FY23 level and nearly three times the number of people detained when Biden took office. Congress has passed annual detention funding at a higher level only twice in history, for fiscal years 2019 and 2020, at the height of the Trump administration.
  • Cutting funding to the Shelter and Services Program, which enables non profits and local governments to provide critical short term services to newly arrived migrants as they incorporate within communities, while allocating additional funding for border patrol agents.

In response, Mike Zamore, National Director of Policy & Government Affairs, American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU), issued the following statement:

“While we recognize that complex negotiations are challenging, and there is much to like about this massive bill, we're very disappointed to see Congress continuing a failed, punitive approach to immigration enforcement. Instead of punishing people seeking safety here by putting them in detention, Congress should increase funding for the communities that are receiving them. Congress should also be pressuring ICE to end its wasteful contracts with private prison companies, which are notorious for human rights abuses, not continuing them.

“This spending package will ultimately be ineffective in advancing actual solutions on immigration. Nevertheless, we appreciate that the bill rejects the many harmful policy riders proposed by the House majority that would have restricted access to abortion, contraception, and gender affirming care and sought to prevent agencies from working to reduce racial disparities.”

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