Defund Hate & Interfaith Community Kick Off Weeks of Meetings With Members of Congress to Demand They Divest From ICE and CBP in Their Fiscal Year 2023 Budget
Washington, D.C. – Wednesday, the Defund Hate coalition held an Interfaith Day of Action where members of the faith community, including Bend the Arc: Jewish Action chapters across the country, met with members of Congress and Congressional staff to demand they dramatically cut funding to Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) and Customs and Border Protection (CBP) in a final negotiated Fiscal Year 2023 budget.
Throughout the day, Defund Hate led virtual in-district meetings across six states to urge members of Congress to stand up against the inhumane and racist system of immigrant incarceration and border militarization by slashing overall spending on ICE, CBP, immigration detention, and border technology infrastructure and instead invest in opt-in community support programs that prioritize everyone’s full humanity. The Congressional offices met with Wednesday include Senators Van Hollen, Murray, Brown, Padilla and Markey. Also included were Representatives Correa, Brown, Ruppersberger, Carter, Sarbanes and Raskin. Defund Hate and the Interfaith Community plan to continue meetings with additional members of Congress over the coming weeks.
Rabbi Jason Kimelman-Block, Washington Director of Bend the Arc Jewish Action, said:
"As Jewish Americans celebrate Passover, we are reminded that the story of our people has been one of migration and liberation since the very beginning. Speaking personally, I owe my life to the fact that my grandparents were able to migrate to this country from Eastern Europe before the Holocaust. At a time when immigrant communities and families are under siege by over-funded and unaccountable immigration enforcement agencies, our multi-racial Jewish community is called to divest from these unjust systems and invest in transforming this society to one that is truly welcoming of all immigrants."
Susan Leslie, Partnerships & Coalitions Organizer at Unitarian Universalist Association, said:
“During this Holy Season, we Unitarian Universalists reaffirm, reflect and act on our sacred principle that every human being is worthy of dignity and respect. Our migrant communities, many of whom are essential workers, many of whom have fled repressive conditions and violence, are being criminalized and taken from their loved ones. They deserve safe harbors, protection, and care, not the separation of their families. Our country does not need more investment in an unjust carceral system enforced by ICE and the Border Patrol. We need investments in our communities to reduce poverty, expand healthcare and childcare, climate protections, and more.”
Luis Suarez, Advocacy Manager at Detention Watch Network, said:
“Today, people across the country made clear the devastating impact ICE and CBP have on their communities and demanded members of Congress cut funding for the abuse-ridden agencies, a message that Congress must recognize in their negotiated bill for fiscal year 2023. Congress has the power and the resources to ensure that people navigating their immigration case can do so with their families and with their community—not behind bars in immigration detention. Members of Congress must unite with communities nationwide demanding to cut funding for ICE and CBP”
Cynthia Garcia, Director of Community Protection Program at United We Dream, said:
“Our country has always had more than enough resources to welcome immigrants and those seeking refuge here with safety, dignity, and humanity. ICE and CBP have systematically gone against these values, and yet, Congress continues to approve billions in taxpayer dollars to fund these agencies’ ongoing assaults and violence against Black, brown, and immigrant communities. Our communities deserve better. We deserve deep and expansive investments in health care, housing, access to food and clean water, education, efforts to combat climate change, and so much more. It’s time Congress delivers on a Fiscal Year 2023 budget that centers investment in people over profit.”
The #DefundHate campaign, 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.