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League Calls on Congress to Defund Hate

The League joined nearly 300 organizations calling on members of Congress to reduce funding for detentions and deportations and provide zero funding for an unnecessary border wall.

June 18, 2018

The Honorable Mitch McConnell
Majority Leader
317 Russell Senate Office Building
Washington, D.C. 20510

The Honorable Charles Schumer
Democratic Leader
322 Hart Senate Office Building
Washington, D.C. 20510

The Honorable Paul Ryan
Speaker of the House
U.S. House of Representatives
Washington, D.C. 20515

The Honorable Nancy Pelosi
Democratic Leader
U.S. House of Representatives
Washington, D.C. 20515

Re: FY 2019 DHS Appropriations Bills Urging reduction in funding for detentions, border wall and deportations

Dear Majority Leader McConnell, Leader Schumer, Speaker Ryan, and Leader Pelosi:

We, the undersigned organizations, call on you and all Members of Congress to oppose any actions that facilitate the Department of Homeland Security’s mass detention and deportation, especially of people of color, construction of a harmful border wall, or further border militarization. Specifically, we urge you to significantly cut funds for immigration detention and enforcement within the Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) and Customs and Border Protection (CBP) budgets whether funded through the appropriations process or other legislative vehicles.

This administration has unleashed a further militarized immigration force, set on tearing apart families and utilizing dangerous rhetoric to justify its attacks on immigrants. The nation is watching in horror as DHS agents now routinely tear children from their parents’ arms, sending parents to be prosecuted and removed from the U.S. while their children suffer unimaginable anguish and fear.1 DHS’s intentional infliction of trauma on families is nothing short of state-sponsored terror2 and is diametrically opposed to our moral and legal obligations to protect people from being forcibly returned to harm.

DHS’s cruel tactics have resulted in countless tragedies including three that have recently gained national attention. On May 23, Claudia Patricia Gómez González , a 20-year-old Guatemalan woman traveling to the United States to continue her education and reunite with her loved one, was shot in the head and murdered by a Border Patrol agent at the U.S.-Mexico border, one of over 70 individuals who have died at the hands of border agents since 2010.3 Just two days later, Roxsana Hernández, a 33-year-old transgender Honduran woman, died while in ICE custody due to complications from pneumonia. Roxsana was one of many asylum-seekers from Central America who fled violence and persecution of transgender community members with a caravan of immigrants last month.4 On May 27, Prince Gbohoutou, a 26-year-old asylum seeker from the Central African Republic who is also the husband of a United States citizen, was abused by ICE agents attempting to force him onto a plane to deport him despite his insistence that he would be killed, without any notification to his wife or attorney.5

Families belong together. A faithful approach upholds family unity and does not prolong family separation. Yet in these tragedies, we see the dehumanizing rhetoric of this administration in action. We know this administration intends to engage in repeated targeting of immigrants and people of color via agencies like ICE and CBP. In order to build these forces, the President has requested over $25.5 billion for ICE and CBP; further bloating a fiscally and morally6 irresponsible agency, ICE and CBP’s budgets are already more than what the United States spends on all other law enforcement agencies combined. 

In fiscal year 2017, ICE incarcerated a daily average of 38,106 people,7 and now the President is requesting that detention facilities be expanded to hold 52,000 individuals per day for fiscal year 2019.8 Deaths of immigrants in detention reached their highest total since 2009 last year.9 Meanwhile, the administration has expanded the detention of pregnant women,10 a cruel and inhumane move that puts both women and children at higher risk of health complications and negative physical and mental effects.11 The administration has already demonstrated an inability or unwillingness to address instances of physical and sexual abuse, deaths, and inadequate access to health care in custody. As the administration seeks to significantly increase the number of people held in jail-like, poor conditions, Congress must reject the President’s request and cut funding for detention.

Furthermore, the Trump administration has demanded increased funding for border militarization, including $25 billion for more border wall constructions at the U.S.-Mexico border, that border communities and over 60 percent of Americans do not want.12 The past two decades have already seen unprecedented levels of spending on harmful border enforcement. This militarization of the border region, including border walls and other enforcement efforts, has damaged the environment, cut off U.S. citizens from their own private lands, risked the survival of endangered species, caused life-threatening flooding, interfered with tribal sovereignty, and pushed individuals into crossing in riskier areas, causing thousands of migrant deaths.13

With apprehension levels at the southern border continuing a decades-long downward trend,14 despite seasonal fluctuations, and many families presenting at ports of entry seeking protection, there is no justification for additional funding for more border agents and more miles of border wall. Instead, resources should focus on the real needs of border communities, including strengthened oversight and accountability to ensure that CBP and ICE agents adhere to the law and are held accountable for civil rights abuses and corruption.

As immigrants, people of color, and other vulnerable populations lose critical access to protections, whether as a result of this administration’s unfair rescinding of programs like Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) or Temporary Protected Status (TPS) or the implementation of policy that tears families seeking safety apart, Congress must take action. Congress should push for permanent, real solutions that keep families together, while decreasing funding for the very forces that target these communities whether through the appropriations process or other legislative vehicles. The undersigned organizations are united in fighting for permanent solutions for immigrant and border communities that do not harm our families and loved ones or undercut other community members. We call on you and all Members of Congress to demand decreased funds for enforcement, border militarization, detentions, and deportations carried out by ICE and CBP.


Accion Comunal Latinoamericana de Montgomery County (ACLAMO) Family Centers
American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU)
ACLU of New Mexico
Action Network
Action Together Network
Adelante Mujeres
Advancement Project
Advocates for Basic Legal Equality, Inc.
Advocates for Youth
African Services Committee
AFSC Colorado
Alianza Americas
Alliance San Diego
American Federation of Teachers (AFT)
American Friends Service Committee (AFSC)
American Gateways
American-Arab Anti Discrimination Committee
Apostle Immigrant Services
Arab American Action Network (AAAN)
Arab Community Center for Economic and Social Services
Arizona Asian & Pacific Islander American Vote Table
Asian American Organizing Project
Asian Americans Advancing Justice | AAJC
Asian Americans Advancing Justice-LA
Asian Counseling & Referral Service
Asian Law Alliance
Asian Pacific Institute on Gender-Based Violence
Asian Services In Action, Inc.
Asylum Seeker Assistance Project
Autistic Self Advocacy Network
Bend the Arc Jewish Action
Bernardine Franciscan Sisters
Bethany Immigration Services
Brave New Films
Cabrini Immigrant Services of NYC
California Partnership
California Partnership to End Domestic Violence
Capital Area Immigrants' Rights Coalition
Center for Biological Diversity
Center for Employment Training
Center for Gender & Refugee Studies
Center for Law and Social Policy (CLASP)
Center for NonProfit Legal Services (CNPLS)
Center for Popular Democracy
Center for Victims of Torture
CenterLink: The Community of LGBT Centers
Central Pastoral Office for Hispanic Ministries- Christian Church (Disciples of Christ)
Centro de los Derechos del Migrante, Inc. (CDM)
Centro Laboral de Graton
Centro Latino Americano
Change Agency
Chestnut Hill Friends Meeting (Philadelphia)
Chicago Religious Leadership Network on Latin America
Children's Law Center of Massachusetts
Chinese Community Center, Houston
Church of Our Saviour/La Iglesia de Nuestro Salvador
Church Women United in New York State
Church World Service
Clergy and Leity United for Economic Justice (CLUE) - Ventura County
Cleveland Jobs with Justice
Coalicion de Derechos Humanos
Coalition for Humane Immigrant Rights (CHIRLA)
Coalition on Human Needs
Colectiva Legal del Pueblo
Color of Change
Columban Center for Advocacy and Outreach
Comboni Justice, Peace & Integrity of Creation (JPIC) Office of the North American Province (NAP)
Community of Friends in Action, Inc.
Comunidades Unidas en Una Voz
Conference of Superiors of Men
Congregation of Our Lady of Charity of the Good Shepherd, US Provinces
DC Coalition Against Domestic Violence
DC-Maryland Justice for Our Neighbors
Defending Rights & Dissent
Desis Rising Up & Moving (DRUM)
Detained Migrant Solidarity Committee-El Paso
Detention Watch Network
Disciples Refugee and Immigration Ministries
Dolores Street Community Services
Dominican Sisters - Grand Rapids
Downtown Languages
East Bay Sanctuary Covenant
Ecumenical Ministries of Oregon
Emgage Action
End Domestic Abuse WI
End Streamline Coalition
Equal Access Legal Services
Equal Rights Advocates
Equality California
Equality North Carolina
Equality Texas
Fair Immigration Reform Movement (FIRM)
Faith in Action
Faith in Public Life
Familia: Trans Queer Liberation Movement
Farmworker Justice
Fe y Justicia Worker Center
Feminist Majority
First Congregational United Church of Christ - Portland
First Friends of New Jersey and New York
First Unitarian Church, Portland, OR
Food Empowerment Project
Fox Valley Citizens for Peace & Justice
Franciscan Action Network
Freedom for Immigrants (formerly CIVIC)
Friends Committee on National Legislation
Friends of Broward Detainees
Friends of Miami-Dade Detainees
Frontera de Cristo
Gay Liberation Network
Greater New York Labor Religion Coalition
Greater Rochester Coalition for Immigration Justice
Greenville Multicultural Church
Habonim Dror North America
HANA Center
Hilton Head for Peace
Hip Hop Caucus
Hispanic Federation
Hispanic Federation - CT
Hispanic Federation - FL
Hispanic Federation - Puerto Rico
Hispanic Interest Coalition of Alabama
Human Rights Initiative of North Texas
Iglesia Alas de Salvacion
Illinois Coalition for Immigrant and Refugee Rights
Immanuel Fellowship
Immigrant and Refugee Support Group
Immigrant Defenders Law Center
Immigrant Defense Project
Immigrant Legal Resource Center
Immigration Equality
Immigration Equality Action Fund
Immigration Project
Immigration Taskforce, SWPA Synod, Evangelical Lutheran Church in America
In Our Own Voice: National Black Women’s Reproductive Justice Agenda
Indivisible Indiana District 2
Instituto de Educacion Popular del Sur de California (IDEPSCA)
Intercommunity Peace & Justice Center
Interfaith Coalition on Immigration
Interfaith Worker Justice
International Institute of New England
InterReligious Task Force on Central America and Colombia
Irish International Immigrant Center
Jewish Community Action
Jewish Family Service of San Diego
Jobs With Justice
Journey’s End Refugee Services
Justice for Muslims Collective
Justice Strategies
Kentucky Coalition for Immigrant and Refugee Rights
Kentucky Equal Justice Center
Kids for College
Kino Border Initiative
La Casa de Amistad
Labor Council For Latin American Advancement (LCLAA) - Pittsburgh
Latin America Working Group
Latino Immigrant Rapid Response Initiative Coalition
LatinoJustice PRLDEF
Latinx Alliance of Lane County
Leadership Conference of Women Religious (LCWR)
League of Women Voters of the United States
Legal Aid Justice Center
Legal Services for Children
Main Street Alliance
Make the Road NY
Massachusetts Law Reform Institute
Mi Familia Vota
Migrant and Immigrant Community Action Project
MinKwon Center for Community Action
Mixteco Indigena Community Organizing Project (MICOP)
Montana Coalition Against Domestic & Sexual Violence
Mujeres Latinas en Accion
Muslim Advocates
National Advocacy Center of the Sisters of the Good Shepherd
National Asian Pacific American Women's Forum (NAPAWF)
National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP)
National Association of Social Workers
National Center for Lesbian Rights
National Center for Transgender Equality
National Council of Jewish Women
National Immigrant Justice Center
National Immigration Law Center
National Institute for Reproductive Health
National Korean American Service & Education Consortium (NAKASEC)
National Latina Institute for Reproductive Health
National Latina/o Psychological Association
National LGBTQ Task Force Action Fund
National Network for Arab American Communities
National Network of Abortion Funds
National Organization for Women
Network Against Racism and Islamophobia - Portland, OR
NETWORK Lobby for Catholic Social Justice
New Hampshire Conference of the United Church of Christ (NHCUCC) Immigrant and Refugee
Support Group
New Mexico Environmental Law Center
New Mexico Immigrant Law Center
NextGen America
Nicaragua Center for Community Action
NJ Alliance for Immigrant Justice
NM Comunidades en Accion y de Fe
No More Deaths/No Más Muertes
North County Immigration Task Force
Northern Illinois Justice for Our Neighbors
Northwest Philadelphia Immigrant Action and Mobilization
Oakland Law Collaborative
Ohio Council of Churches
Organization of Chinese Americans (OCA) - Asian Pacific American Advocates
OutFront Minnesota
Pangea Legal Services
Pennsylvania Immigration and Citizenship Coalition
Pennsylvania Immigration Resource Center
PFLAG National
Planned Parenthood Federation of America
Poligon Education Fund
Portland Central America Solidarity Committee (PCASC)
Positive Women's Network - USA
Pre-Health Dreamers
Project IRENE
Project South
Proyecto de Accion de los Suburbios del Oeste (PASO) - West Suburban Action Project
Public Law Center
Reformed Church of Highland Park
Rocky Mountain Immigrant Advocacy Network (RMIAN)
San Diego Border Dreamers
San Diego Immigrant Rights Consortium
San Diego Indivisible Downtown
San Diego Volunteer Lawyer Program, Inc.
School Sisters of Notre Dame - Central Pacific Province
Seattle Human Rights Commission
Services, Immigrant Rights, and Education Network (SIREN)
Sierra Club
Sin Fronteras
Sisters of Charity of New York
Sisters of Mercy of the Americas - Institute Leadership Team
Sisters of St. Joseph of Rochester
Skagit Immigrant Rights Council
Social Justice Collaborative
South Asian Americans Leading Together (SAALT)
South Asian Fund For Education, Scholarship and Training (SAFEST)
Southeast Asia Resource Action Center (SEARAC)
Southern Border Communities Coalition (SBCC)
Southern Poverty Law Center (SPLC)
Southside Worker Center
Southwest Environmental Center
St John of God Church
St. Andrew Lutheran Church
St. Mark's Presbyterian Church
St. Simon Stock Parish
STEP UP! Sacramento
T'ruah: The Rabbinic Call for Human Rights
Taos Refugee and Immigrant Network
Tennessee Immigrant and Refugee Rights Coalition
Tennessee Immigrant Empowerment Solutions
The Black Alliance for Just Immigration
The Farmworker Association of Florida, Inc.
The Hampton Institute: a Working Class Think Tank
The Jewish Council on Urban Affairs
The Leadership Conference on Civil and Human Rights
The Queer Palestinian Empowerment Network
Transgender Law Center
Trinity Episcopal Church
U.S. Palestinian Community Network (USPCN)
UndocuBlack Network
UnidosUS (formerly the National Council of La Raza)
Unitarian Universalist Congregation of York Pennsylvania Legislative Advocacy Network
Unite for Reproductive & Gender Equity (URGE)
Unite Oregon
United We Dream
University Unitarian Church
Uri L'Tzedek: Jewish, Orthodox Social Justice Movement
UUFaithAction New Jersey
Voto Latino
Voz Hispana Cambio Comunitario
Washington Office on Latin America
Washington State Coalition Against Domestic Violence (WSCADV)
Wayne Action for Racial Equality
We Belong Together
Win Without War
Women’s Refugee Commission
YWCA Southern Arizona



1 The New York Times, “‘It’s Horrendous’: The Heartache of a Migrant Boy Taken From His Father,” (June 7, 2018), .

2 The New Yorker, “Taking Children from Their Parents is a Form of State Terror,” (May 9, 2018), .

3 The Guardian, “From a Guatemalan village to death in Texas,” (June 2, 2018),

4 NBC News, “Transgender migrant from Honduras dies in U.S. custody,” (May 30, 2018),

5 Washington Post,“‘I’ll be killed if I go back’: Undocumented immigrant refuses to board flight at JFK,” (May 27, 2018),


6 FY 2019 Budget in Brief, Department of Homeland Security,

7 National Immigrant Justice Center and Detention Watch Network, ICE Lies: Public Deception, Private Profit,


8 Fiscal Year 2019 Congressional Justification, U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement,

9 Houston Chronicle, “ Immigration detention deaths reach the highest total since 2009,” (Jan. 12, 2018),


10 CNN, “ ICE paves way to detain more pregnant immigrants,” (Mar. 29, 2018), immigration-pregnant-women/index.html

11 American Academy of Physicians, “AAP, medical groups urge ICE not to detain pregnant women,” (Apr. 2, 2018),

12 CBS News, “Most Americans support DACA, but oppose border wall,” (Jan. 18, 2018),

13 The Guardian, “US-Mexico border migrant deaths rose in 2017 even as crossings fell, UN says,” (Feb. 6, 2018), .

14 CATO Institute, Still No Crisis at the Border, (Apr. 25, 2018),

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