Billionaire Tom Steyer investing $1M to help immigrants fight deportation
© Greg Nash

Billionaire Democratic mega-donor Tom Steyer announced on Thursday his plans to invest an additional $1 million in efforts to help immigrant legal aid groups fight deportation cases. 

The funds will go toward organizations that are a part of his group, NextGen America, according to ABC 7 News.

Steyer made the announcement while delivering remarks at an annual gathering of the American Immigration Lawyers Association, the outlet reported.


"For those facing the brutality and violence of deportation, whose lives are on the verge of being suddenly and horribly pulled apart, legal resources can be the difference between deportation and safety," Steyer said.

According to ABC7, the Democratic mega-donor put aside $2.3 million last year to support organizations working to help immigrants seek out legal protection. 

"Legal services are an indispensable resource for our immigrant families, and until we address the immigration system in a comprehensive and humane way, it is vital that these programs be expanded and strengthened," said Steyer.

Steyer's announcement comes amid heightened tensions over the Trump administration's "zero-tolerance" immigration policy and Congress's scramble to push a compromise immigration bill to President TrumpDonald John TrumpTrump conversation with foreign leader part of complaint that led to standoff between intel chief, Congress: report Pelosi: Lewandowski should have been held in contempt 'right then and there' Trump to withdraw FEMA chief nominee: report MORE.

Democrats and immigration advocates have expressed concern about the treatment of migrant children following Attorney General Jeff SessionsJefferson (Jeff) Beauregard SessionsPelosi: Lewandowski should have been held in contempt 'right then and there' Democrats bicker over strategy on impeachment McCabe says he would 'absolutely not' cut a deal with prosecutors MORE's announcement last month of the zero-tolerance policy. The policy, which prosecutes adults attempting to cross the U.S.–Mexico border illegally, has faced intense scrutiny from critics, who call it cruel and blame it for overwhelming courts and U.S. attorneys' offices.

Meanwhile, GOP leaders earlier this week reached an agreement to hold two votes next week separate immigration bills, including a compromise bill reached after weeks of negotiations between moderate Republicans and conservatives.

Trump abruptly halted GOP leadership's plans for the compromise immigration bill on Friday, stating, "I certainly wouldn’t sign the more moderate one,” during an impromptu interview on the White House lawn with "Fox & Friends."

“I need a bill that gives this country tremendous border security. I have to have that," he continued.

Shortly after Trump's comments, GOP leaders decided to scrap a planned whip check on the bill, which had been scheduled for Friday.