Skip to content Skip to navigation

Organizing to stop ICE and CBP

News & Commentary  |  By Peniel Ibe, Jul 10, 2019

As part of the Defund Hate campaign, communities across the country continue to pressure Congress to stop funding cruelty against immigrants.   

In the last week of June, AFSC joined over 30 partner organizations in the Defund Hate Campaign in Washington, D.C. to strengthen our organizing and advocacy efforts to pressure Congress to cut funding to Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) and Customs and Border Protection (CBP).

Our AFSC delegation represented Colorado, Iowa, California, New Hampshire, New Jersey, Oregon, and Florida and include 25 staff members, interns and fellows, state coalition members, and community leaders who are directly impacted by U.S. immigration policies.  

Coincidentally, our Defund Hate convening took place just as Congress was considering the Trump administration’s request for an additional $5 billion of supplemental funding for its massive and inhumane immigrant detention system.

We used the opportunity together to make our voices heard. On the morning of June 25, the day before senators were scheduled to vote on the supplemental funding measure, over a hundred of us filled the rotunda of the Russell Senate building. And we spoke truth to power, urging Congress to defund hate and stop funding cruelty against immigrants. We held signs and displayed photos of individuals who have died in the hands of ICE and CBP, calling out their names one by one.

Watch a livestream of our action here.  

Our demonstration generated national headlines – just as the news media was turning more attention to one immigrant detention facility in Clint, Texas, where children are being kept in horrifying conditions for weeks at a time. Investigators who had visited the facility reported that children had been forced to sleep on cold floors, deprived of food and showers, and experiencing flu and lice outbreaks.

Despite our efforts and growing public outcry, the Senate and the House ultimately approved $4.5 billion in funding in response to the Trump administration’s request. Thanks to our efforts, the first House version removed funding for additional ICE detention and included some important oversight measures – including protections for kids in ICE and CBP custody. – But unfortunately, it was the more harmful version, first introduced in the Senate that was adopted by both chambers and funded. The final bill includes money for expanded detention and does not contain protections for children.

The supplemental funding package also includes money for more family immigration jails and child migrant detention centers like the one in Homestead, Florida.     

While the passage of this supplemental funding is a setback, it does not subtract from the fact that we are gaining ground in our work to defund hate and protect our community members from detention and deportation.  As a coalition, we have gotten more than 100 members of Congress on the record calling for cuts in ICE and CBP funding. In 2018, we defeated the Trump administration’s request for $1 billion to expand detention after organizing over just 10 days. Since the beginning of the Defund Hate campaign in 2017, AFSC and partner organizations have mobilized hundreds of thousands of people nationwide to successfully block over $7 billion from funding for the Trump administration’s detention and deportation machine.  

With your support, we will continue to demand Congress stop funding cruelty against immigrants and slash funding ICE and CBP in next year’s budget.  

Tell your member of Congress to Defund Hate today.  

In this anti-immigrant environment, we are continuing to secure victories to help protect our community members and ensure they can live in the safety and peace we all deserve. As we concluded our time together at the Defund Hate convening in Washington, D.C., we came away with a stronger commitment – and more resources – to work together to change federal policy, engage our local communities in advocacy, and better harness our collective power.

We hope you will stand with us in calling on Congress to defund hate. Here’s how you can take action:

1. Email Congress to defund ICE and CBP.

Contact your members today and tell them to stop funding cruelty against immigrants.  

2. Call your member of Congress. 

Phone calls are an effective way to get your elected officials’ attention and urge them to stop funding Trump’s detention and deportation machine. 

3. Spread the word.

Download our “Keep Loved Ones Together” social media graphics to use online and print out our posters to use at your next action or display in your community. You can also share this Facebook video about our campaign.

4. Donate to support AFSC’s work.

Your gift helps us provide legal services for immigrants, advocate for humane immigration policies that respect the rights and dignity of all people –and supports our worldwide work for peace and justice. 

About the Author

Peniel is the policy associate at AFSC. She is interested in international development, humanitarian crisis management and public policy. She is an immigrant from Nigeria who recently relocated to the United States and is advocating for the rights of others like her.