Immigrant rights groups are vowing to fight any effort in the lame-duck session to provide funding for the Department of Homeland Security to construct a wall or for President TrumpDonald TrumpFormer Sen. Heller to run for Nevada governor Overnight Defense & National Security — Milley becomes lightning rod Joint Chiefs Chairman Milley becomes lightning rod on right MORE's military deployment on the southern border with Mexico.
“No more walls, agents, or detention centers are needed,” said Vicki Gaubeca, the director of the Southern Border Communities Coalition, on a press call with reporters on Thursday. “Congress needs to cut funding to Trump’s deportation force.”
Lawmakers are returning to Washington next week after the midterm elections and preparing for a funding fight over Trump's proposed border wall. Congress has until Dec. 7 to fund the Department of Homeland Security for fiscal 2019.
Republican leaders have said they will make funding the wall a priority in that package. And Trump in a post-election press conference on Wednesday said that a DHS shutdown would be "possible" if he didn't secure funding for the wall.
A House Homeland Security funding bill would provide $5 billion for the wall, with a similar proposal in the Senate allocating $1.6 billion.
The administration is also deploying 7,000 troops to the border to stop a migrant caravan that is heading to the U.S. border. Trump has said that he could send as many as 15,000 troops to the border. An independent study by the Center for Strategic and Budgetary Assessments has put the cost of this deployment for the Pentagon between $42 million and $110 million.
Ur Jaddou, director of DHS Watch, questioned providing more funding to Homeland Security.
“Congress should be looking into customs and border protection before it considers increasing funding,” she said.
She also said that DHS needed more reforms, claiming the agency's “accountability structures are small and weak” for an organization with 40,000 agents carrying 100,000 authorized guns.
All lawmakers representing border districts who were elected in the 2018 midterms oppose building a wall. The result in Texas's 23rd District is still unclear, but incumbent Rep. Will HurdWilliam Ballard HurdFirst Democrat jumps into key Texas House race to challenge Gonzales Will the real Lee Hamiltons and Olympia Snowes please stand up? The Hill's Morning Report - Presented by Facebook - Biden, Congress drawn into pipeline cyberattack, violence in Israel MORE (R) has opposed a wall.
Jaddou said the next Congress should decide whether to provide DHS with more funds.
“Congress should be deferring all of these budget increases to the new Congress, and the new Congress should exercise long overdue oversight,” she said.
Andrea Guerrero of Alliance San Diego and the Southern Border Communities Coalition criticized what she called the “increased militarization of our communities... without increased accountability.”
Guerrero and members of the Southern Border Communities Coalition said they will work with lawmakers in Washington to prevent the lame duck Congress from increasing DHS funding.