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Defund Hate Coalition Encourages Strong Oversight of ICE Spending During Continuing Resolution

logo for Defund Hate CoalitionThe Defund Hate Coalition applauds appropriations committee leadership for enforcing Congress’s power of the purse and rejecting future attempts to misuse federal appropriations laws to expand Trump’s detention and deportation force and continue to build his border wall.

A letter signed by Rep. Nita Lowey, Sen. Patrick Leahy, Rep. Lucille Roybal-Allard, and Sen. Jon Tester — chairpersons and ranking members of the full appropriations committees and immigration subcommittees in both congressional chambers — was sent today to the Department of Homeland Security and the Office of Management and Budget. It states that the administration must notify Congress of efforts to secure new funding for DHS’s Immigration and Customs Enforcement while the government remains funded under a “continuing resolution,” meaning agencies are expected to maintain their budgets at the same levels as in fiscal year 2019. The letter states that Congress has already considered, and declined, DHS requests to fund ICE at a higher level than what is provided in the continuing resolution.

In FY 2019, ICE used an appropriations loophole known as “exception apportionment” to expand the ICE detention system by nearly 8,000 beds during a series of continuing resolutions, without informing Congress.

The exception apportionment mechanism is intended only to allow federal agencies to respond to “extraordinary circumstances,” the appropriators’ letter states. Therefore, both DHS and the Office of Management and Budget should notify Congress immediately when such a funding request is made or approved.

The Defund Hate Coalition issued the following statement in response to the letter:

“Members of the Defund Hate Coalition are heartened by this important step toward oversight but urge members of Congress to put teeth behind their charge by: 1) closely monitoring ICE’s detention practices during this continuing resolution; and 2) restricting DHS’s ability to continue abusing the appropriations process.”

The Defund Hate Coalition, composed of organizations representing directly impacted communities, faith leaders, and civil rights and immigrant rights advocates, is committed to divestment from agencies that tear apart our families and terrorize our communities. For too long, our representatives have said they care about our communities while simultaneously funding aggressive immigration enforcement and deadly immigration jails. They must be held accountable to keep their promises and stand with the immigrant community. We call on our members of Congress to say no and vote against wasting taxpayer dollars on an abusive and deadly immigration enforcement system. Instead, we want our tax dollars used to strengthen our families and communities by investing in education, housing, nutrition and health care programs that provide opportunity and increase well-being.