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 ShelbyBlack Hawk pilot shot down in Somalia jumps into Alabama Senate race Senate Democrats ditch Hyde amendment for first time in decades Senate Democrats unveil remaining spending bills, teeing up clash with Republicans 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) TesterThe Hill's Morning Report - Presented by Uber - Manchin, Sanders in budget feud; Biden still upbeat Democratic frustration with Sinema rises Which proposals will survive in the Democrats' spending plan? 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 HarrisObama looks to give new momentum to McAuliffe Kamala Harris engages with heckler during New York speech Biden's safe-space CNN town hall attracts small audience, as poll numbers plummet MORE (D-Calif.), a presidential hopeful, and released Wednesday.
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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.