WASHINGTON DC (February 13, 2019) The American Friends Service Committee (AFSC) – a Quaker organization that has worked with immigrants and refugees for over 100 years – is urging members of Congress to vote no on any funding bill that increases funding for border walls, border militarization, or immigrant detention.
AFSC spoke out against reports that a compromise bill may be released tomorrow that includes $1.375 billion for additional walls at our southern border and a substantial increase in the number of immigrants held in detention every day.
“We cannot compromise on human rights, on family separation, or on the wellbeing of our border communities,” said Kathryn Johnson, Policy Advocacy Coordinator for AFSC. “We are calling on Congress to reject any bill that increases funding for detention, deportation, and the deadly and destructive militarization of our border communities.”
While some lawmakers touted the compromise as a decrease in detention, in actuality it would dramatically increase the number of people ICE can detain every night. This deal includes funding for an annual average daily detention population of 45,274, which is a 12% increase over 2018. It also fails to provide a cap on the number of people in detention, and does nothing to limit reprogramming and transfer authority, which means that ICE can continue to raid funds from other accounts to increase its budget throughout the year.
“AFSC has worked for years with people in detention, and we have seen firsthand the cruelty, poor conditions, and human rights abuses that take place within detention centers,” said Kristin Kumpf, AFSC’s Director of Human Mobility and Migration. “These funding levels would mean tens of thousands more immigrants torn from their families and communities and could lead to additional deaths in dangerous and poorly monitored detention facilities.”
AFSC also spoke out against the allocation of $1.375 billion for wall construction. “Instead of endangering our communities and driving migrants to their deaths with more border militarization, U.S. authorities should concentrate their resources on expediting asylum requests and safeguarding human rights,” said Pedro Rios, director of AFSC’s U.S.-Mexico Border Program.
AFSC is part of a large and growing movement calling on congress to defund ICE and CBP. Hundreds of thousands of people have signed petitions in recent weeks demanding cuts to the budgets of both agencies, and in Washington, DC and across the country people are mobilizing to tell lawmakers this deal is unacceptable.
The American Friends Service Committee is a Quaker organization that includes people of various faiths who are committed to social justice, peace and humanitarian service. Its work is based on the belief in the worth of every person and faith in the power of love to overcome violence and injustice.