November 13, 2019
Today is a National Call-in Day to Congress demanding that they cut (not increase!!!) the budgets for Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) and Customs and Border Protection (CBP). We have written about specific issues concerning the Trump administration’s refusal to abide by Congressional authorizations concerning how money is spent.
You can also personalize your communication with members of Congress. A summary of some points you might raise.
- Congressed authorized funding for just over a 45,000 daily average of people in ICE detention in Fiscal Year 2019 (Oct 1, 2018 to Sept 30, 2019).
- The intent was that detention would decline from the 49,000 daily average at the time the budget was passed, to 40,000 by the end of the fiscal year.
- By August of 2019, ICE was holding 55,000 people a day.
- In August, 9,000 of the people in detention were asylum seekers who had already passed their credible fear interview, and according to DHS’ own guidelines, it would “no longer in the public interest” to detain them.
- They were not released. Instead, Trump administration officials shifted funds from the Coast Guard and other accounts to fund expanded detention.
- Today, there are over 12,000 people still in detention that have demonstrated a credible fear of persecution of torture should they be returned home - even though overall detention has declined to 50,000 (still above authorized amounts).
- In other words, the reason that the administration is over budget is not a surge in border apprehensions, but the cruel decision to hold all asylum seekers throughout their entire process.
This should NOT be funded.
- This summer the administration secured an extra $4.6 billion in emergency funding following disclosure of horrible conditions in Border Patrol stations, where children were being held for three weeks or more without adequate food or sanitation.
- The administration blamed this on a backlog at the Department of Health and Human Services, which receives unaccompanied children from Border Patrol to detain while awaiting placement, because of a surge in apprehensions at the border.
- Reality: HHS facilities were over capacity prior to the so called border surge, with average detention stays up to 95 days by November of 2018. Why?
- The Trump administration policy to use children in detention as bait to catch undocumented family members who might come forward as sponsors - which, as reported by the Washington Post this week, they knew would lead to a backlog at HHS.
- Thus, the horror we witnessed at Border Patrol detention facilities this summer was the result of an intentional policy to deter children from coming here.
This should NOT be funded!
- The Border Patrol does NOT need more agents.
- The Washington Office on Latin America reported, “In all of 2018, the average Border Patrol agent apprehended 14 single adults—one every 3.7 weeks—and 10 children or parents who sought to be apprehended. If staffing levels remained similar in 2019, the average Border Patrol agent apprehended 18 single adults—one every 2.9 weeks— and had to process 33 children or parents.”
- So, even with the increase in apprehensions last year, on average, a border patrol agent took 1 single adult and 2 children alone (or 1 child with a parent) into custody every 3 weeks.
- As WOLA notes, what is needed is more staff to process asylum claims, not more agents to arrest people.
- This is needed so that people can be processed and RELEASED!
No more detention dollars for ICE, no more enforcement dollars for CBP. They do not need the money. The crisis at our border is a real one - but it has been created by this administration’s cruelty, and the false notion that deterrence is an effective strategy to end migration. We are violating human rights and in effect torturing people in detention, in order to discourage immigration.
It is time to #DefundHate, and stop this!!