Tell your Representative to Defund Hate

The biggest fight on immigration this year will be over funding

While Democratic control of the House has given us a firewall against some of the worst Republican attacks, Trump’s attacks against immigrants continue. He shut down the government for over a month in an effort to get his hateful wall, and has already requested billions more for ICE and CBP in next year’s budget, “FY20.” He hopes to use the money to pay for his wall, more ICE and CBP agents, and more cages for immigrant families.

Fortunately, the Constitution gives Congress—not the White House—the sole power to appropriate money. That means that Democrats can define the terms of this debate through the appropriations process.

What is the Defund Hate Campaign? The Defund Hate Campaign is a coalition of immigrant rights and progressive organizations that have been working for two years to get Congress to reduce funding for ICE and CBP, the two agencies most responsible for tearing apart immigrant families. Co-chaired by two of our closest partners, Detention Watch Network (DWN) and United We Dream (UWD), the coalition seeks to divest from immigration detention and enforcement, and invest in programs that we actually need, like health care and education. Indivisible is a proud member and partner of the Defund Hate Campaign. You can read more here.

What local Indivisible groups can do to Defund Hate

There are actions that any group can take to support the Defund Hate Campaign, depending on who their Member of Congress (MoC) is. Here are a few things you can do.

If your MoC is an Appropriator

If your MoC sits on the Appropriations Committee in the House, then they are going to be the ones making the decisions over funding levels for both ICE and CBP. That means you have a lot of power to influence the outcome.

Here are two specific asks you can make:

  1. Demand that funding for ICE and CBP be cut to “FY16” levels. Funding levels for ICE and CBP have have dramatically increased since the agencies were created in 2003—yes, even under Obama. But under Trump, the increases have been striking. For example, detention has exploded by about 50% under Trump. Now that Democrats have retaken the House, they should demand cuts that would at the very least bring us back to Obama-era funding levels. Cutting to “FY16” means bringing funding for these agencies down to what they were at the end of fiscal year 2016, the last of the Obama years. That is just a first step toward defunding these agencies for good.

  2. Prohibit ICE and CBP from raiding other accounts. Under Trump, ICE has been able to steal from other DHS accounts—thereby going around Congress—in order to expand its enforcement activities. Congress could quickly put a stop to this practice by adding language into the FY20 appropriations bill that would prohibit it.

If your MoC is Not an Appropriator

Even if your MoC doesn’t sit on the Appropriations committee, they can still have a meaningful impact on the process. They can submit their own funding level requests for DHS directly with appropriators. Right now there is a letter (known as a “Dear Colleague”) being circulated, led by Congresswomen Pramila Jayapal (WA) and Norma Torres (CA), formally requesting the same asks outlined above.

Ask that your MoC “sign-on” to the “Jayapal-Torres-Chu Dear Colleague” requesting cuts to ICE and CBP.