New Spending Bill and Emergency Declaration Add Insult to Injury for Immigrant Communities and Asylum Seekers
CHICAGO, February 14, 2019 – Today, the President signed an appropriations bill that looked very similar to the one designed by a Republican-controlled House and Senate in the 115th Congress, prior to the government shutdown. It ratifies the militarization of our southern borders, including generous support for “barriers”, detention beds, and other border security measures, though without fully funding the President’s request for a border wall.
Now, the President has indicated he will declare a national emergency and get his wall after all.
Oscar Chacón, Executive Director of Alianza Americas had the following statement:
“The appropriations bill that was approved by Congress and signed today essentially ratified the status quo. The Department of Homeland Security secured abundant resources to continue to deny people their right to seek asylum, as the US limits border crossings, returns them to Mexico or detains them. Billions will flow to private detention centers as they line their coffers with the misery of people seeking safety; and the fiction of the “dangerous border,” continues to drive the national conversation.
Now, we add the threat of a wasteful and destructive wall to be funded through Mr. Trump’s imagined or manufactured “emergency.” Big losers today include all US taxpayers who are getting an “over-the-top” border-spending bill, with the ugly spectre of a wall as an added insult. These measures will do nothing to keep us safe, serving simply to appease the racist, xenophobic elements in the President’s base.
Congress and the President will take credit for reaching an agreement that does not shut down the government. Indeed, the shutdown harmed hundreds of thousands of people and dragged down the economy. But squandering even more resources on border security measures that separate families and tear apart communities is not the answer. Mr. Trump’s fake emergency cannot “wall off” the underlying problems that face poor communities in the US or in Mexico and Central America.
Congress moved forward with a bill that leaves in place a punitive, militarized, extremely expensive, and ultimately misguided approach to managing border security. Meanwhile, the nearly one million people whose temporary protection under TPS, DACA, and DED have been canceled under the Trump Administration remain in limbo. If those programs are allowed to expire, and the long-time residents forced to return to countries of origin, it will cost the US economy billions, and tear apart thousands of families. We call on lawmakers from both parties to take up the urgent task of protecting TPS, DACA, and DED holders, restoring our once-proud asylum and refugee systems, and addressing the conditions driving so many people to leave Central American countries in the first place.”
Alianza Americas is a network of 50 immigrant-led organizations representing more than 100,000 families across the United States. It is the only US-based organization rooted in Latino and Caribbean immigrant communities that works transnationally to create an inclusive, equitable, and sustainable way of life. Learn more at alianzaamericas.org.