For Immediate Release
July 18, 2018
Faith In Action Blasts Trivial House Vote Praising ICE Agents Instead of Dealing with Humanitarian Crises At Border and In Our Communities
House Appropriators Also Propose $5 Billion for Border Wall, Triple What Senate Wants
WASHINGTON, DC — In a shoddy effort to raise the political heat on House members who advocate for immigrants’ rights, the chamber’s conservative leaders forced a vote Wednesday on a non-binding resolution supporting the mission of U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE), its agents and others who work for the agency.
The vote for the resolution, 244-35, with 133 Democrats voting “present,” came a day before the House Appropriations subcommittee for homeland security takes up a $51 billion spending bill for the U.S. Department of Homeland Security, which includes ICE — highlighted by massive increases in immigrant detention and deportation and militarization along the U.S.-Mexico border.
The following is a statement by Richard Morales, director of Faith In Action’s immigration campaign LA RED:
“The extent to which the controlling party in Congress will go to demonize and terrorize immigrants has no limit. Today’s political charade was another dive into the dark hole of immorality.
“Every day, members of the clergy and immigrants’ rights advocates who work with LA RED across the nation, see the humanitarian crisis created by the Trump administration and ICE. For weeks, we have seen horrifying pictures and heard the sounds of thousands of children screaming after being separated from their parents at the border, with some housed in cages because of the administration’s ‘zero tolerance’ policy against immigrants seeking refuge or asylum. When public outcry could not be ignored, Trump said families should be jailed together. And when the administration was ordered by a judge to reunite the families, the government admitted it had lost track of many of them; some parents already had been deported back to the countries of origin they had fled to escape violence and poverty.
“Not to be overlooked is the climate of fear and terror in immigrant communities across the country. Just last week, we accompanied a long-time Maryland resident to her scheduled check-in with ICE, only to see her be detained and readied for deportation despite her plea for asylum. Days later, neighborhoods in our nation’s Capital were raided, with agents even sweeping up passers-by and detaining a dozen people.
“Instead of probing ICE’s misconduct — behavior that has included mistreatment of detainees and that has led to calls for ICE to be abolished — conservatives who control Congress engaged in a political stunt to try to shame those seeking to protect the civil and human rights of all people, including immigrants.
“If Congress is serious about finding solutions for our immigration system, it should decriminalize immigration, stop demonizing our communities and end zero tolerance. In the meantime, it should say ‘No,” to militarization on the border, the detention and deportation machine, and to all of the tools Trump is using to institutionalize his hate agenda. Congress must defund the already bloated budget of DHS, which includes ICE and Customs and Border Patrol, and establish firm oversight over future immigration and border operations.”
Faith In Action (formerly PICO National Network) is the largest grassroots, faith-based organizing network in the United States. PICO works with 1,000 religious congregations in more than 200 cities and towns through its 60 local and state federations. PICO and its federations are non-partisan and do not endorse or support candidates for office. PICO urges people of faith to consult their faith traditions for guidance on specific policies and legislation. Learn more at www.piconetwork.org.
Created in 2015, LA RED is a program of PICO National Network focused on immigrant rights, indigenous rights, education, and advocacy. LA RED is committed to the protection and security of immigrant communities through various means of resistance, including deportation defense, sanctuary advocacy and fighting for the rights of all immigrants including undocumented workers and families, DREAMers, and TPS holders.