Great news! ICE’s request for one billion dollars as part of a short-term spending bill was denied by Congress last week. The Department of Homeland Security requested an ‘anomaly,’ or request for extra funding, in order to continue expansion of the immigrant detention system, but – in an unprecedented move for Congress - the request was not part of the final budget package passed through the Senate, which should pass through the House in coming weeks.
The power of public pushback against ICE’s sneaky request caused Congress to reject it! Detention Watch Network and their #DefundHate coalition partners “conducted 46 DC or in-district meetings with Members of Congress or their staff, held emergency organizer calls in English and Spanish, put out two action alerts, drove hundreds of calls to congressional offices, and delivered over 60,000 petition signatures to Senators Schumer and Shelby”. This rejection by Congress is a huge success and powerful testament to the effectiveness of community organizing.
But this is not the end of this journey. We have seen the havoc that ICE’s enormous budget has wrought across our country – from family separation and indefinite detention in detention centers along the border to the separation of Alex Garcia from his family right here in Maplewood. Our work is not over. We must continue to make our voices heard so that in the future, we can demand more! We must demand that Congress not only reject extra funding requests but cut ICE’s funding after the expiration of the short-term spending bill. We must keep fighting for cuts to ICE’s funding to bring justice to our immigrant brothers and sisters.
What can we do now to continue the work to defund ICE? Call, write or visit your members of Congress! Use #DefundHate’s House and Senate scorecards to hold your members of Congress accountable for their actions surrounding ICE and CBP funding.