Send an email to your members of Congress today, and tell them it's time they invest in our communities.
Last week, President Biden released his official 2024 budget request — a direct reflection of his administration’s priorities and values. The President’s budget showed us too many ways that his stated values do not align with his actions, particularly when it comes to policies that disproportionately harm Black and brown members of our communities.
President Biden campaigned on a promise to undo inhumane immigration policies and take bold action for racial justice. Yet on the heels of the Biden administration reportedly considering restarting family detention and extreme bans on asylum — harmful and traumatic Trump-era policies — his official budget request not only includes $800 million more for agencies like ICE and CBP, but also a terrifying new $4.7 billion slush fund for the Department of Homeland Security to do further harm to immigrant and border communities.1,2
The President also often speaks of his commitment to racial justice and community safety, and while his budget does make some potentially helpful investments in community violence intervention programs, this funding still lives within enforcement — not public health — agencies. Even worse, his budget request would put 100,000 more armed police officers on our streets without any meaningful steps to prevent the epidemic of police violence killing Black and brown members of our communities — when research shows that increased policing does not lead to a reduction in crime. In fact, it often makes things worse.3
The budget process now moves to Congress. It’s another crucial moment to demand our elected officials cut funding from punitive and racist enforcement programs — and instead pass a budget that helps, not harms.
In January, Bend the Arc sent a letter to the White House, urging President Biden to cut funding from systems that have disproportionately harmed Black people, Indigenous people, and people of color for centuries.
Just last week, we delivered signatures from hundreds of Jews and allies across the country with the exact same message.
Now, members of Congress are preparing their own budget requests before negotiations begin. They’re hearing from their constituents and community groups, but that doesn't mean they're getting the whole picture. Corporate lobbyists are also working hard to influence how Congress prioritizes its funding this year, and often members of Congress hear more from them than from the actual people they represent. We need Congress to hear from us — and from the people who are impacted by injustice most directly.
Now is the time to make real changes in how our government approaches community safety. We need a federal budget that invests in community-centered, non-carceral crisis response, and programs that welcome immigrants, refugees, and asylum seekers into our communities instead of jailing them. We need a budget that cuts funding for the enforcement agencies and policies shaped by centuries of white supremacist harm.
Over the next few months, Bend the Arc staff and leaders, alongside our movement partners, will be lobbying members of Congress to fight for a budget that builds toward Black liberation and invests in the freedom and power of all our communities.
When you take action today, you’ll join a chorus of voices sending a clear message demanding greater equity and safety for all of us — making an important statement about our collective future.
The Bend the Arc team