Defund Hate Toolkit

The Trump administration is violating human rights with their horrendous treatment of immigrants and refugees. You’ve marched, you’ve held vigils, you’ve called Congress, here’s what comes next in the fight.

 

Immigrant families are under an all-out assault. From caging children and families at the border and refusing them access to basic necessities like showers and toothbrushes to attempting to illegally blocking asylum, this administration has focused its resources on maximizing trauma on immigrant communities. Fueled by racism, hatred, and fear, the Trump administration has continued to pursue these unpopular and harmful policies, and Congress has continued to fund each and every one.

As an official member of the Defund Hate Coalition, we stand with immigrant families to focus our collective power on defunding hate.

This toolkit is meant to be used by Indivisibles and other activists interested in ramping up efforts to fight back against Trump’s inhumane treatment and terrorization of immigrants. 

Trump has used all of the powers available to him (and some that aren’t available to him) to continuously launch attacks on immigrants and refugees. 

In one of his first acts as President, Trump signed an executive order instating the Muslim ban, its own form of family separation. As a result, families are unable to be reunified, and even students face a risk of being unable to travel to and from their home.

The Trump administration has purposely exacerbated the situation at the southern border, and is directly responsible for the most horrifying conditions. One of the most glaring examples was the wholly unnecessary but deliberate decision to separate children from their parents under its “zero tolerance policy.” To this day, we still don’t know how many were separated, many families remain apart, while the practice continues

A recent report from the Department of Homeland Security’s (DHS) own internal watchdog detailed the horrific conditions that face many of the immigrants being detained. The problems are wide-ranging, from extreme overcrowding to restricted access to showers; some kids are even unable to completely lay on the ground due to the number of migrants being detained in some of the camps. Many have died at the hands of Customs and Border Protection (CBP) and Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE), as the Inspector General detailed the conditions facing migrants as “a ticking time bomb.”

Instead of fixing the conditions at the border camps and reining in the terror of ICE and CBP, the Trump administration has, among other things, implemented a policy of “metering” in which asylum seekers are turned back to Mexico, where vulnerable families wait weeks or months before having a chance to claim asylum. The administration has conducted countless raids on immigrant communities, and Trump even tweeted about planned raids to deport “millions” of people, causing fear and panic throughout the immigrant community. On Thursday, July 11th, we learned that these fears would be made true with news of Trump’s order to deport over 2,000 immigrants on Sunday, July 14th

The truth is that no immigrant is safe under Trump. Trump has moved to eliminate DACA, though the Supreme Court will soon hear a case on its future. He has also stripped away protections for hundreds of thousands of migrants with Temporary Protected Status (TPS) and Deferred Enforced Departure (DED) status, putting them at risk of deportation. And recently a US citizen was held in ICE detention for three weeks

These are just a few of the despicable policies that the Trump administration has implemented to demonize and attack immigrants in this country and those seeking to come here—but we have the power to fight back. Read on for more information about the opportunities and tactics available to us to keep the pressure on the administration and Members of Congress (MoCs) to Defund Hate.

The key to fighting concentration camps, ICE raids, and family separation is by defunding them through the congressional appropriations process

All of the abuses we named above have one thing in common: they are allowed to continue because Congress continues to fund them. 

How? Congress has appropriated billions of dollars for immigration enforcement with almost no guardrails, giving Trump a blank check to attack immigrants. In fact, just a few weeks ago, 129 Democrats (yes, Democrats) voted to pass a bill to give Donald Trump billions more for detention and enforcement, including millions of additional funding for ICE, with no oversight, guardrails, or safeguards. The bill was approved with majority Republican support. 

What Trump has demonstrated time and time again is that he will use every dollar he can to detain, separate, and deport families. Instead of using its power of the purse to put a stop to the abuses, Congress has chosen to give Trump more resources. That makes them complicit. 

 
 

Is Your Member of Congress Complicit?

Check to see if your member of Congress voted with Republicans to pass Mitch McConnell’s bill to give millions more to ICE to continue separating and terrorizing families.

 
Find out now!

If you’re outraged about Trump’s attacks on immigrants, the most effective way to fight back is to demand cuts to DHS funding. While we’ve heard the rallying cries to close the camps, or to keep families together and free, the reality is until we’ve removed Trump from office, the most strategic and effective way to fight back is to demand that Congress cut funding to DHS. We must defund Trump’s ability to enact his hateful agenda by defunding the enforcement budgets of ICE and CBP, and shifting that money into humanitarian programs that will actually help address the problem. (Our partners at the National Immigrant Justice Center (NIJC) have put together a helpful resource of five investments that we can make if we’re serious about dealing with the border crisis here).

Understanding the Congressional appropriations process

Each year, Congress uses this process to decide how much funding agencies will receive for the year—including ICE and CBP, the agencies primarily responsible for carrying out Trump’s attacks on families). Fortunately, the Constitution gives Congress—not the White House—the sole power to appropriate money. That means that Democrats, using their majority in the House, have the power to limit the harm being inflicted on immigrant families. So far they have shown a disappointing unwillingness to do so. They will soon have another opportunity. 

Congress needs to pass another government spending bill by Sept. 30. We need Democrats to use their power to demand that the next funding bill contain cuts to ICE and CBP, and strict guardrails to ensure that money isn’t misused. By Defunding Hate, we can finally begin to undo the damage that has come as a result of decades of treating immigration like a security problem, and demonstrate that we stand with immigrants—not just with words but with actions. 

 

What can we do about it?

While this administration’s attacks on immigrants are atrocious, there is something we can do about it. We’ve seen again and again when Indivisibles (in collaboration with other progressive partners) take action and use our nationally coordinated voice, we can make an impact. 

These policies are destroying people’s lives and that’s why we’re putting together an action plan. It’s going to be critical to keep up the pressure until this budget fight is over—which may be on September 30th, or may continue on past that if Congress passes a “continuing resolution.” Our most pivotal moment will be a National Week of Action in September when Indivisibles across the country will come together to ask our MoCs loudly and clearly to Defund Hate. However, before and after that, it will continue to be important to stay engaged and keep the pressure up. Here are a few ways and times you can take action with your group: 

August Recess 

Over the course of August, members of Congress (MoCs) have an extra long recess (it runs from Monday, July 29 to Monday, September 9). As a reminder recess, or district work period, is when MoCs are supposed to be at home in their district hearing from their constituents. Whether you have a friendly or not so friendly MoC, August Recess is an excellent opportunity to try to track them down and apply direct, face-to-face constituent pressure. 

No matter the type of event or interaction, the most important questions to ask your member of Congress this recess is: will you commit to cut funding for ICE and CBP and get rid of the slush fund that will allow ICE to continue terrorizing immigration communities in the 2020 Department of Homeland funding bill? 

Since it’s critical to keep up momentum on this campaign, August Recess is a great opportunity to both start to learn where your MoC falls on this issue and to recruit new volunteers for the September Week of Action. To increase your chances of successfully bringing existing group members into this campaign and new folks into your group, we have a few tactic ideas that you can use to offer many entry points for new or existing volunteers: 

Expert - For group members that are ready to dive into in person actions with their MoC: 

Town Halls: Any time that Congress is back in their home state/district on recess presents a good opportunity to demand that they hold a town hall. If your MoC is hosting a town hall (you can check at townhallproject.com), your group can create a plan to birddog your MOC. Typically this involves recruiting a person who will ask the questions and someone who is filming the exchange and/or live streaming it. The goal is to get your candidate on the record either supporting or opposing cuts to CBP & ICE in the budget process. Make sure to share it out on social media! If you are live streaming, you can recruit viewers to volunteer with you by delegating someone to facilitate the live stream and instructing them to engage with viewers to collect their contact info so they can volunteer. 

Town Hall Quick Tips

District Office Visits: If your MoC isn’t holding a town hall), your group can do a district office visit where you go into the office and speak with staff—your MoC might even be there since it’s recess. You can also consider a district office visit in addition if you also have a town hall! Indivisible activists will be doing a day of action on the hill on August 12th, so that week is a great opportunity to do an office visit in solidarity. 

District Office Visit Quick Tips

Intermediate - For group members who are newly engaged with this campaign or the group: 

Chalking: Going into your community and chalking on sidewalks is a great way to draw awareness to an upcoming action you are planning beyond your existing membership. It’s also a fun action for those new to activism. Buy some chalk & recruit as many volunteers as you can from your existing group to chalk a very specific message around their neighborhoods. Chalking is most effective when you can spread your message far. To maximize your success, ask your volunteers to identify a few areas in their neighborhood that have high foot traffic where people are bound to see your message. Here is a great example of a message you can chalk: “Immigrants are welcome here. Learn more about #defundhate by going to indivisible.org/defundhate” Also, be creative! Your chalking can be wonderful works of art that will help draw attention to your message.

Beginner - For activists who may not be part of a group yet or are just starting to re-engage: 

Record a video/share on social media: Use our soapboxx link to record a video and ask friends to join the campaign. Make sure to ask your friends and viewers to learn more about #defundhate by going to indivisible.org/defundhate. You can also share this link on social media! 

All are great options, but you are not limited to one! You can pick one, two, or all thee to build your August Recess plan. 

September Week of Action 

This is the most important phase in the campaign. If you don’t have time to engage in any other actions, you should focus your energy on organizing or attending an event for the September Week of Action. This is the most vital moment when groups need to act with one voice to influence the outcome of the budget. September is a critical month to put pressure on House members since the budget deadline is September 30th. 

After taking in ideas from Indivisible leaders, together we’re building towards a day of action on Friday, September 13th. We’ll have a broader toolkit coming soon, but start working with your group to plan details and get your event registered on the Indivisible map. We’re hoping that across the country there can be action throughout the week of September 9th - 13th, so if the 13th doesn’t work for your group, you can do an event any day that week. 

Other opportunities to take action 

Between different flashpoints of this campaign, Indivisible groups and group members should continue to keep up the pressure on your MoC.