Advocates urge the administration to divest from detention and invest in communities
WASHINGTON D.C. (August 17, 2021) — Today, 131 organizations published a statement for the Biden administration outlining the top immigration priorities that must be included in the country’s budget for Fiscal Year 2023.
As the Biden administration begins crafting next year's budget, advocates are sending a strong message that it is long past time for the United States to redirect government funding away from draconian enforcement measures and invest in legal services and community-based programming that enhance our communities’ safety and well-being.
Immigrants bring vibrancy and resilience to the United States. Yet, for decades, the United States has placed enforcement and deterrence at the heart of immigration policy, spending billions of dollars annually on immigration enforcement - more than we spend on all other federal law enforcement combined. The consequences have been deadly and disproportionately harm Black, Brown, Indigenous, and border communities.
To restore humanity to our immigration system, the Biden administration’s Fiscal Year 2023 budget must:
- Dramatically decrease funding for immigration detention;
- Fund community-based support programs in place of the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s (ICE) existing “alternatives to detention” program;
- Provide appointed legal representation to immigrant adults and families through the Department of Justice, and to unaccompanied children through the Department of Health and Human Services;
- Decrease funding for immigrant and border surveillance; and
- Decrease the size of the ICE and Border Patrol agent force.
The statement was led by the National Immigrant Justice Center, American Immigration Council, Center for Victims of Torture, Detention Watch Network, United We Dream, and Women’s Refugee Commission.