20 Dems demand no more money for ICE agents, Trump wall

20 Dems demand no more money for ICE agents, Trump wall
© Getty
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.
In addition to Harris, 18 other Democratic senators signed the letter, including her 2020 White House competitors Sens. Bernie SandersBernie SandersSanders on Medicare expansion in spending package: 'Its not coming out' Briahna Joy Gray: Biden must keep progressive promises or risk losing midterms Overnight Health Care — Presented by Carequest — Study finds Pfizer vaccine almost 91 percent effective for 5 to 11 year olds MORE (I-Vt.), Amy KlobucharAmy KlobucharGOP blocks Senate Democrats' revised elections bill Progressives push back on decision to shrink Biden's paid family leave program The Hill's 12:30 Report - Presented by Altria - Biden holds meetings to resurrect his spending plan MORE (D-Minn.), Kirsten GillibrandKirsten GillibrandWhich proposals will survive in the Democrats' spending plan? Proposals to reform supports for parents face chopping block Under pressure, Democrats cut back spending MORE (D-N.Y.), Elizabeth WarrenElizabeth WarrenSinema's office outlines opposition to tax rate hikes The CFPB's data overreach hurts the businesses it claims to help Runaway higher ed spending gains little except endless student debt MORE (D-Mass.) and Cory BookerCory BookerSenate Democrats call for diversity among new Federal Reserve Bank presidents Progressives push back on decision to shrink Biden's paid family leave program Emanuel to take hot seat in Senate confirmation hearing 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." 
"ICE immigration detention facilities and ICE contractors often fail to comply with ICE’s own set of performance-based standards of care for detainees. ... We cannot in good conscience support increased funding for immigration detention beds that effectively sustain such cruel purposes," the senators add in their Wednesday letter. 
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. 
"Congress must resist efforts to raid critical and effective public safety programs in order to pay for political theatrics," the Democratic senators added. "The president’s manufactured emergency cannot justify spending taxpayer dollars on an ineffective wall."