By: Peniel Ibe and Kathryn Johnson
We’re gaining ground in our work to protect our community members from detention and deportation.
Since taking office, President Trump’s cruel anti-immigrant policies have threatened the lives and livelihoods of millions of members of our communities. He has ramped up immigration detention and deportation, terminated programs that provide protections to immigrants who’ve lived in the U.S. for decades, and demanded billions of dollars to further militarize border communities.
But immigrants and allies across the country have organized to push back against Trump’s anti-immigrant agenda at every turn – at state legislatures and on Capitol Hill, in the media, in the courts, in the voting booth, and on the streets. And even in this political environment, we’re proving that our voices can make a difference.
In just the past couple of weeks, we’ve had two big successes in defending immigrant rights, thanks to grassroots action from immigrants, their families, and allies as well as AFSC supporters like you who have contacted their members of Congress on these issues.
Here’s what we helped to accomplish, with your support:
Historic bill passes protecting TPS, DED, and DACA recipients
On June 6, the House of Representatives passed the Dream and Promise Act, a bill that would offer a pathway to citizenship for people with Temporary Protected Status (TPS), Deferred Enforced Departure (DED), or Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA).
Since the Trump administration announced it would end these vital programs, it has endangered the lives of more than a million immigrants by jeopardizing their legal status and subjecting them to the threat of deportation. But thanks to extraordinary grassroots organizing and tireless advocacy by TPS, DED, and DACA beneficiaries, their families, and allies across the country, Congress responded. Both the House and the Senate introduced legislation to protect TPS, DED, and DACA recipients and others that would have qualified for these programs. The bills also call for the return of previously deported people who could have benefited from TPS, DED, and DACA.
The Dream and Promise Act passed by the House would protect upward of 2.6 million immigrants from deportation and increase their access to economic opportunities and higher education. Although some provisions were added that could further criminalize immigrants of color based on their contact with a discriminatory criminal legal system, we succeeded in defeating anti-immigrant amendments that would exclude large groups of individuals from protection. We also stopped the addition of amendments that would grow Trump’s deportation force.
What happens next: There’s still a long road ahead for this bill to become law. The Senate must pass a similar bill, like the Dream Act of 2019 and the Secure Act of 2019.
Today, it’s important that we keep up the pressure on our elected officials and urge senators to follow the lead of the House. Please contact your senators by email or phone today and urge your family and friends to do the same.
Billions of dollars for detention and deportation blocked – for now
Several weeks ago, President Trump asked Congress for $4.5 billion extra dollars to spend this year supposedly to respond to the crisis at the border. The administration insisted it was a request for humanitarian assistance when, in reality, it was an attempt to fast-track more funding for Trump’s detention and deportation machine. That money would have funded things like locking up more immigrants in freezing Border Patrol stations and abusive Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) detention centers, prosecuting more people for simply entering the country, arresting sponsors who come forward to care for unaccompanied children, and further militarizing our border communities.
As part of the Defund Hate Campaign, AFSC sprang into action to stop Congress from approving these funds and called on you for your help. Over 5,000 of you responded, sending emails and calling your members of Congress to say no more money for ICE and Customs and Border Protection (CBP).
Knowing that this funding request would be unlikely to pass on its own, Republicans in Congress tried to include it in an unrelated supplemental funding package to provide much needed disaster assistance for Puerto Rico and other areas of the country trying to rebuild. Because of pressure from people like you, Democrats stood strong and refused to pass the bill. Instead, a disaster relief bill without any additional funding for ICE and CBP passed and has been signed into law.
What’s next: This was a significant win in our campaign to Defund Hate. But we know the administration will continue to press for more money for immigrant detention and continue to lock up children and families, despite the fact that five children have died in CBP custody in just the last several months.
We must keep up the drumbeat on our call to defund ICE and CBP. One way to do that is to email or call your members of Congress and tell them: Stop funding cruelty against immigrants!
The past week has demonstrated that even in an anti-immigrant, xenophobic environment, we can still secure victories for our community if we come together to hold our elected officials accountable. Thank you to everyone who has and continues to take action with us! Together, we’ve reminded elected officials that we want a world where all people are treated with dignity and respect, and we will continue to exercise show compassion, courage, and commitment until we get there.