A group of Democrats, including every Democratic presidential candidate in the Senate, called on appropriation leaders to reduce funding for the Department of Homeland Security and President Donald Trump’s immigration agenda.
“[W]e ask that you reduce funding for the administration’s reckless immigration enforcement and detention operations that are tearing families apart and harming the American economy,” read an excerpt of a letter delivered to Senate Appropriations Committee Chairman Richard Shelby and several other committee leaders.
Nineteen Democratic senators signed on to the letter, including presidential candidates Kamala Harris, Bernie Sanders, Elizabeth Warren, Cory Booker, Kirsten Gillibrand, and Amy Klobuchar.
The Democrats made four specific requests of the committee: Reduce funding for beds in immigration detention centers, reject Trump’s request to hire additional Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) agents, create legislative language that puts limitations on Department of Homeland Security funds, and lastly, reject funding for the president’s proposed U.S.-Mexico border wall.
If implemented, such measures would severely restrict the White House’s efforts to manage the emergency crisis taking place at the southern border, where record numbers of illegal migrants have pushed enforcement resources past the breaking point.
Law enforcement agents turned back or apprehended a total of 103,492 migrants who attempted to reach the border in March, marking the highest month in over a decade. A vast number of these migrants are family units and children from Central America, creating issues with U.S. immigration laws designed primarily to handle single males from Mexico. Overcrowded ICE detention centers have been forced to release around 1,000 illegal immigrants a day.
Reduced funding for detention beds, as the Democratic senators are suggesting, would prompt more illegal migrants to be released into the U.S. interior.
“We cannot support the appropriation of funds that would expand this administration’s unnecessarily cruel immigration enforcement policies, its inhumane immigrant detention systems, or its efforts to build the president’s vanity project,” the letter concluded. (RELATED: Newspapers Encouraging Locals To Flee To The US, Illegal Migrants Claim)
Their letter comes as the appropriations committee will soon be drafting its own funding bills later on in the year.
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