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Congressional Leaders Set to Avert Government Shutdown With Compromise to Block Funding for Deportation Force and Trump's Wall But Concerns Remain

May 1, 2017

Washington, D.C. - On the eve of May Day activities, news broke that Congressional leaders reached a bipartisan agreement to fund the federal government through fiscal year 2017. If passed by both the House of Representatives and U.S. Senate, leaders will avoid a government shutdown following weeks of tense negotiations. The agreement does not provide funding for President Trump's proposed U.S. - Mexico border wall, but it still includes provisions that raise concern.

In response, LULAC National President Roger C. Rocha, Jr. released the following statement:

"A federal government shutdown damages the economy, hurts families and businesses, and prevents the federal government from providing critical services that many families depend on. LULAC is encouraged that Congressional leaders have reached a compromise which avoids a government shutdown and includes significant provisions LULAC supports.

Specifically, language in the proposed legislation limits the hiring of a deportation force, eliminates riders on sanctuary cities, removes the mandatory detention bed-quota, and significantly blocks all funding for a concrete wall on the U.S. – Mexico border. Although we support these provisions, the bill also includes language that gives us pause.

We are concerned that the current language allows the Department of Homeland Security to use millions of dollars to replace vehicular barriers on the southwest border with pedestrian barriers, which would block the movement of people, wildlife and water. While current appropriation language limits the construction of a pedestrian barrier to only 20 miles of existing infrastructure, LULAC National will continue to work with Senate and House leadership to limit such activities in the future.

Earlier this year, LULAC, along with over 160 organizations representing civil rights, Latino, border, labor, legal, indigenous, faith, LGBT, and other communities, sent a letter to Congressional leaders expressing opposition to any legislation that would fund Trump's divisive wall, or continue the criminalization of immigrants and the militarization of the border. Since then, the coalition has met with over 40 offices to educate congress on this issue.

LULAC National will also continue to support our champions on the Hill who have helped to elevate our voice opposing the funding of a border wall, a deportation force, and additional detention beds.”

Below is a summary of notable provisions in the bill from House/Senate leadership offices. To read the full text of the bill, click here:

Elimination of Riders. The bill eliminates the following problematic riders:
– The 34,000 statutory floor for detention beds carried in the House and Senate bills.
– A House provision limiting USCIS from implementing DACA/DAPA expansion.
– Three House provisions restricting the ability of a female detained by ICE from getting an abortion under certain conditions.
– A House provision capping TSA screener personnel at 45,000.

Oversight and Accountability. The bill includes several measures to hold the Department accountable.
– Requires monthly certifications on whether ICE is administering and executing its enforcement and removal operations activities consistent with available appropriations.
– Requires a report on visa overstay data.
– Requires a strategy on bioterrorism detection.
– Requires a multi-year capital investment plan for Coast Guard assets.
– Requires a multi-year technology investment plan for TSA screening systems.
– Requires a multi-year investment plan for CBP non-intrusive inspection equipment.
– Caps the amount an appropriation can be increased through transfer at 10 percent.

A total of $1.520 billion is provided for border security, immigration enforcement, and Secret Service security requirements, including $1.140 billion as additional appropriations in Title VI and $380 million in the base bill.

No funds are included for a wasteful (concrete) border wall. The additional funding in this bill instead makes investments in border security technology, tactical infrastructure, and facilities upgrades. For immigration enforcement, no funds are included to hire additional Immigration and Customs Enforcement agents or in any other manner create a “deportation force.” To accommodate the dramatic surge in border crossings that occurred earlier in the fiscal year, the bill funds enforcement activities and detention requirements through the continuing resolution and at a reduced rate for the remainder of the fiscal year.

• The bill provides $6.435 billion for Immigration and Customs Enforcement. Of the total amount, $237 million is funded as an additional appropriation in Title VI of this division.

Funds in the bill ensure compliance with U.S. immigration laws while streamlining and facilitating the legal immigration process. It strongly supports investigations into stopping the severest forms of human trafficking and smuggling, as well as efforts to prevent child sex tourism through funding of International Meagan’s Law.

The bill also funds the alternatives to detention program at $183 million, $69 million more than FY 2016 or a 60 percent increase. ICE is also directed to provide more reliable cost estimates for detention beds, improve the contracting process for detention space, and increase oversight of adult and family detention facilities.

Finally, language is included in Title VI requiring the Secretary to report to the Committees with justification if detention facility standards are proposed to be altered.

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The League of United Latin American Citizens (LULAC) is the nation’s largest and oldest civil rights volunteer-based organization that empowers Hispanic Americans and builds strong Latino communities. Headquartered in Washington, DC, with 1,000 councils around the United States and Puerto Rico, LULAC’s programs, services and advocacy address the most important issues for Latinos, meeting critical needs of today and the future. For more information, visit www.LULAC.org.

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