Congress caves in to Trump… again, votes on a funding bill that will only enable the President’s cruel immigration strategy

Children are held inside a temporary migrant holding area set up by Customs and Border Protection under the Paso del Norte International Port of Entry between Juarez and El Paso. Ivan Pierre Aguirre for The Texas Tribune

This week, OneAmerica delivered a statement to our Congressional delegation signed by more than 50 organizations from across Washington State expressing profound disappointment and anger over enactment of a supplemental funding bill that will send billions more to beef up border security and interior enforcement without adequate assurances that the funds will be spent to address the humanitarian crisis created by the President’s policies.  Despite concerns raised by immigrant communities, only two members of Washington’s congressional delegation – Representative Pramila Jayapal and Representative Adam Smith – voted against the bill. 

Too many Members of Congress continue to rightly criticize the President for the outrageous treatment of children and families at the southern Border, yet fail to take action to hold the Administration accountable for its actions when presented with the opportunity.  As a community, we must hold our elected representatives accountable.  We expect better, and we will continue to fight to end the violation of human rights, constitutional rights and international agreements rampant at the border.  #Note1DollarMore

Thank you to the Washington Immigrant Solidarity Network, MAPS-AMEN and the Northwest Immigrant Rights Project for helping to draft and circulate the statement and to the organizations that signed on to the statement over the July 4th holiday.

Statement

The undersigned organizations are united in our opposition to the Supplemental Appropriations bill (HR 3401) passed by Congress on June 26, 2019.  We applaud U.S. Representatives Pramila Jayapal (WA-7) and Adam Smith (WA-9) for having the courage and moral conviction to vote against the final bill.  We are disappointed with the rest of the WA delegation who voted for the bill. 

Specifically, Senators Murray and Cantwell, and Representatives DelBene, Heck, Herrera Beutler, Kilmer, Larsen, McMorris Rodgers, Newhouse and Schrier voted for a bill that:

  • Provides over $100 million in funding to the Department of Defense for it to be part of the response to the humanitarian crisis at the border.  We reject the notion that military entities should be involved in caring for unaccompanied children and families seeking asylum.
  • Provides nearly $70 million in increased funding to U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) for additional personnel costs at a time when ICE is already detaining over 54,000 people, well over the already-problematic level Congress had set earlier this year (45,274).
  • Provides over $21 million in increased funding to ICE’s Homeland Security Investigations (HSI).  This agency is already heavily involved in the Administration’s attacks on immigrant communities and it has been reported that it would be involved in the arrests of families that the Administration has announced will come in the near future.
  • Fails to include the strong accountability measures in the House version of the supplemental appropriations bill, which would have helped ensure that any additional resources provided would actually address the humanitarian needs of children and others detained by immigration authorities.

There is no political cover, no moral justification, no pragmatic centrism that can justify these positions.  This vote helps to facilitate the morally corrupt approach of an administration determined to use cruelty to discourage migration, despite growing recognition that this strategy is both immoral and ineffective.  By voting for this bill, Senators Murray and Cantwell, Representatives DelBene, Heck, Herrera Beutler, Kilmer, Larsen, McMorris Rodgers, Newhouse and Schrier failed to represent Washington State’s values, voters, communities and organizations who expect better from our federal elected officials. 

We call on our WA congressional delegation to hold the administration accountable for the abuse of children and families, and the violations of human rights, international norms and legal protections for migrants seeking asylum in the United States.  This includes opposing more of the same kind of spending in the next round of appropriations bills working their way through Congress in anticipation of the FY 2020 budgeting and appropriations process.  We need moral and pragmatic solutions, not a dehumanizing focus on paramilitary enforcement of broken immigration laws nor the dismantling of asylum laws and protections for vulnerable populations.  We hope our WA delegation better reflects our state values and vision moving forward. 

Organizational Signers:

ACLU Burien People Power
Admiral Congregational Church
API Chaya
Asian Counseling and Referral Service
Asian Pacific Islander Coalition of Washington
Bellingham Deaf and Disability Justice Coalition
Bethany United Church of Christ
Birchwood Food Desert Fighters
Buddhist Peace Fellowship-Seattle
Burien White Center ICE Rapid Response
Casa Latina
Central Washington Justice For Our Neighbors
Central/SE Seattle Interfaith Migrant Rights Network
Christina Rock Creative Services
Church Council of Greater Seattle
Colectiva Legal del Pueblo
Community Acupuncture Project
El Centro de la Raza
Entre Hermanos
Exponential Fuel Corporation
Faith Action Network
Gethsemane Lutheran Church
Immigration Justice Group
Indivisible Eastside -WA
Indivisible Kirkland
Indivisible Whidbey
Jewish Coalition for Immigrant Justice NW
Jews Undoing Institutionalized Racism
Latino Community Fund of Washington State
Lawyer Moms of America
MAPS-AMEN (American Muslim Empowerment Network)
Mayahuel Xochiquetzal Cihuapilli
Northwest Immigrant Rights Project
OneAmerica
Orca K-8 Southend Stories
Planned Parenthood Advocates Of Greater Washington and North Idaho
Radical Women
Seattle Freedom Socialist Party
Seattle Human Rights Commission
Seattle Immigrant Rights Action Group
Seattle Indivisible
Seattle/King County Coalition on Homelessness
Social Justice Fund NW
Solid Ground
Somos Seattle
Spokane Immigrant Rights Coalition
Tenants Union
UAW Local 4121
WA Immigrant Solidarity Network (WAISN)
Wallingford Indivisible
Washington Coalition of Sexual Assault Programs
Washington Dream Coalition
Washington Immigrant Defense Network
Washington State League of United Latin American Citizens
Washington State Religious Campaign Against Torture

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