The White House calls it a “budget for a Better America.” But Asian civil rights groups Asian Americans Advancing Justice and Southeast Asia Resource Action Center (SEARAC) disagree.
The budget released on March 11 includes a drastic increase in immigration detention and deportation funding while significantly cutting funding across the board for domestic programs vital to community health and stability.
The budget proposes hiring an additional 1,000 ICE enforcement agents, 750 Border Patrol agents, and 128 immigration court prosecuting attorneys. It includes $5 billion to build 200 miles of additional border wall, and combined with the $3.6 billion of wall construction funding, the White House’s request for border wall funding totals $8.6 billion.
Additionally, the budget calls for a massive slush fund to be used to further bloat the immigration jail system to lock up 60,000 people per day, and to hire thousands more deportation agents.
In contrast, President Trump threatens to repeal the Affordable Care Act in addition to proposed cuts to food stamps, $2 trillion in cuts to Medicare and Medicaid, a $26 billion cut to Social Security programs, and a 12 percent reduction in Department of Education funding. The president also hopes to slash funding for Federal TRIO programs, which support low-income students in preparing and enrolling in college, as well as eliminate interest rate subsidies on some federal student loans, public service loan forgiveness, and Federal Supplemental Educational Opportunity Grants, making college even less accessible for many communities in need.
Additionally, the president proposes a $7.2 billion allocation for the entire U.S. Census Bureau, which advocates have expressed is sorely inadequate for an accurate count of all communities in 2020.
In a statement, Asian Americans Advancing Justice said, “We oppose this disgraceful budget, which is nothing more than another attack on our immigrant communities and an attempt to continue the administration’s xenophobic and hateful agenda. Congress must put a stop to these anti-immigrant policies and funding that separate families and harm our communities. Rather than funding mass incarceration and the deportation of immigrant families, we ask that Congress propose a budget that supports our communities and the programs that allow us to thrive.”
“Increased funding for the expansion of our detention and deportation systems and the militarization of our borders, while cutting investments to programs that promote education equity, health justice, and decreased poverty for our communities is unconscionable,” said Quyen Dinh, executive director of SEARAC.
Call your Congress member and urge them to cut funding from ICE and CBP and reallocate those funds into ensuring an accurate census count, strengthening social programs for the poor, and expanding education access and opportunity for all.