Update: funding inhumane policies
In the midst of increasingly inhumane conditions at the border, Congress is currently in negotiations to decide how to fund the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) until October 2019. They have until December 7 to decide.
Why is this important?
The Department of Homeland Security houses such agencies as Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) and Customs and Border Protection (CBP). These agencies are responsible for carrying out many inhumane immigration enforcement practices including immigration detention, deportations, and border militarization.
Every additional dollar for these efforts allows the administration to carry out policies that erode the rights, safety, and humanity of migrants and refugees.
What is important to know about these negotiations?
- The administration continues to find ways to limit access to asylum, a critical protection guaranteed by U.S. and international law. This includes limiting the number of asylum seekers allowed to request protection, turning away asylum seekers at the border, attempting to ban asylum seekers who enter between ports of entry, and shutting down ports of entry. These actions are carried out by agencies such as CBP.
- ICE is currently detaining record high numbers of migrants, including children, in substandard conditions. The agency has consistently overspent its budget.
- Funding the border wall at the president’s requested amount means Congress would have to take money from other needed programs. Construction on border barriers is currently happening, often with little input from border communities and ignoring threats to wildlife and habitat.
We know there are better policy solutions to this situation including addressing root causes of migration, strengthening access to asylum, and community-based alternatives to detention. The administration, however, continues to implement policies, using federal funding, that ignore and undermine such solutions.