Senate Democrats are urging top members of the Appropriations Committee to restrict funding for the Department of Homeland Security, and to reject providing money for a U.S.-Mexico border wall or additional Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) agents.
In a letter to Sens. Richard ShelbyRichard Craig ShelbySenate Democrats ditch Hyde amendment for first time in decades Senate Democrats unveil remaining spending bills, teeing up clash with Republicans Democratic appropriations bills would increase environmental funding by B MORE (R-Ala.) and Patrick LeahyPatrick Joseph LeahyOvernight Energy & Environment — Presented by the American Petroleum Institute — Democrats address reports that clean energy program will be axed Overnight Health Care — Presented by Carequest — Colin Powell's death highlights risks for immunocompromised On The Money — Democrats tee up Senate spending battles with GOP MORE (D-Vt.), the top members on the panel, and Sens. Shelley Moore CapitoShelley Wellons Moore CapitoBiden's soft touch with Manchin, Sinema frustrates Democrats The Hill's Morning Report - Presented by Facebook - After high drama, Senate lifts debt limit Here are the 11 GOP senators who helped advance the debt extension MORE (R-W.Va.) and Jon TesterJonathan (Jon) TesterProgressives see budget deal getting close after Biden meeting On The Money — It all comes down to Bernie and Joe Overnight Energy & Environment — Presented by the American Petroleum Institute — Manchin, Tester voice opposition to carbon tax MORE (D-Mont.), the top members of its Homeland Security subcommittee, the senators drew bright red lines that could set up a new government funding fight.
"We cannot support the appropriation of funds that would expand this administration’s unnecessarily cruel immigration enforcement policies, its inhumane immigrant detention systems, or its efforts to build the president’s vanity projects," Democrats wrote in the letter, which was spearheaded by Sen. Kamala HarrisKamala HarrisAre supply chain disruptions the beginning of the end of globalization? Harris to campaign with McAuliffe in Virginia Harris to highlight drought, climate change in Nevada trip MORE (D-Calif.), a presidential hopeful, and released Wednesday.
In addition to Harris, 18 other Democratic senators signed the letter, including her 2020 White House competitors Sens. Bernie SandersBernie SandersWhite House: Window for finalizing sweeping budget package 'closing' Jayapal says tuition-free community college 'probably won't' be in spending plan Progressives see budget deal getting close after Biden meeting MORE (I-Vt.), Amy KlobucharAmy KlobucharThe Hill's 12:30 Report - Presented by Altria - Biden holds meetings to resurrect his spending plan Senate Democrats ask for details on threats against election workers On The Money — Progressives play hard ball on Biden budget plan MORE (D-Minn.), Kirsten GillibrandKirsten GillibrandOvernight Energy & Environment — Biden makes return to pre-Trump national monument boundaries official Biden signs bill to help victims of 'Havana syndrome' Lawmakers using leadership PACs as 'slush funds' to live lavish lifestyles: report MORE (D-N.Y.), Elizabeth WarrenElizabeth WarrenDemocrats narrow scope of IRS proposal amid GOP attacks Overnight Health Care — Presented by Carequest — FDA moves to sell hearing aids over-the-counter FDA proposes rule to offer over-the-counter hearing aids MORE (D-Mass.) and Cory BookerCory BookerEmanuel to take hot seat in Senate confirmation hearing Senate GOP signals they'll help bail out Biden's Fed chair Defense & National Security — Military starts giving guidance on COVID-19 vaccine refusals MORE (D-N.J.).
The Democratic senators want the Senate Appropriations Committee, which will begin drafting its own funding bills later this year, to reject the Trump administration's request for additional ICE agents, and include language that would limit what money the Department of Homeland Security could use to detain and remove immigrants from the United States.
"Under current funding levels, the administration has expanded immigration enforcement within American communities indiscriminately, failing to distinguish hardworking individuals with deep community ties and no criminal record from individuals convicted of a serious crime," the senators argue in their letter to appropriators.
They also want the Senate's funding bills to reduce the amount of money available for beds in the federal immigration detention system, arguing that it is "plagued by limited oversight and accountability and inhumane conditions."
Money for ICE and the fight over the number of detention beds is likely to be a key point of contention in government funding talks later this year.
Calls to "abolish ICE" came under the national spotlight ahead of the 2018 midterm election. And the amount of funding for a border barrier and ICE detention beds were two of the last holdups in negotiations earlier this year to end the partial government shutdown.
Democrats are also urging appropriators to reject funding for the U.S.-Mexico border wall. Trump declared a national emergency to help get billions for the barrier, in addition to the $1.375 billion provided in the February funding bill.