Tlaib Calls To Defund Immigration Agencies Amid Border Crisis

Tlaib Calls To Defund Immigration Agencies Amid Border Crisis

Mona Salama
Mona Salama
July 8, 2021

Rep. Rashida Tlaib (D-MI) is calling for defunding of U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP), Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE), and the Department of Homeland Security (DHS), arguing that these immigration agencies “terrorize migrant communities.”

Tlaib was asked about her thoughts on President Biden’s plans to increase funding for border technology for immigration agencies in response to the ongoing administration manufactured crisis of over hundreds of thousands of migrants arriving at the southern border. DHS has requested $665 million in investments toward modernizing land ports of entry and $47 million to invest in detection capabilities in addition to investments in border surveillance technology in the latest fiscal 2022 budget.

“Look, the simple answer to that question is we must eliminate funding for CBP, ICE, and their parent organization: DHS. Time after time, we have seen it. As advocates on the ground, as human services agencies on the ground, continue to see over and over again, that these agencies are inept to humanely guiding migrants through our immigration system,” Tlaib said.

“Instead, they further continue to terrorize migrant communities located within our communities,” Tlaib added.

The number of migrants arriving at the U.S. southern border has soared in the last five months since Biden has taken office. The month of May saw border patrol encountered 180,034 migrants, reaching another new highest one-month record total in over two decades. The encountering of migrants was up from 178,622 apprehensions in April and 172,331 in March.

However, ICE officials performed a record low number of deportations despite illegal border crossings occurring at a 20-year high in the agency’s history. In April, ICE deported 2,962 immigrants, a 20% decline from the previous month of 3,716, marking the agency’s first time deported less than 3,000 individuals in one month since the beginning of ICE’s records.

Biden and his DHS team reformed the agency by issuing new rules, reining ICE officers’ job capability by restricting their ability to make arrests and deportations. DHS Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas directed ICE to prioritize security threats by focusing on immigrants with criminal histories who threaten public safety or national security and barred officers from making routine arrests at courthouses, saying the practice discourages immigrants from attending their court hearings.

Tlaib, an original member of the House progressive “Squad,” made these comments in an interview last month with Just Futures Law – a legal group that fights for “a future beyond deportation and criminalization.” The full interview was made available Wednesday, but the group has now made the video private on its Youtube page shortly after the National Republican Congressional Committee (NRCC) shared portions of Tlaib’s remarks on its social media accounts.

NRCC Spokesman Mike Berg responded to Tlaib’s comment saying, “Defunding the police isn’t radical enough for Democrats anymore. They want to defund anyone who enforces our laws.”

Tlaib doubled down her calls to defund key immigration agencies, calling for the “abolish[ment of] ICE” while remaining very critical of Biden’s latest immigration policies. Last month, Tlaib slammed Vice President Kamala Harris after telling Guatemalans “do not come” during a news conference with the Guatemalan president.

“This whole ‘stay there and die’ approach is not how our country will promote a more humane and just immigration system,” Tlaib tweeted in response to Harris’s remarks.

During the interview, Tlaib claimed that many Democrats in Congress, especially the new members, are opposed to increasing technology at the border, calling the approach a myth that “violates human rights.”

“This approach is something that many, especially the new members of Congress, are coming with full force and pushing back against this idea,” Tlaib said.

“They rename this kind of militarization or targeting in a very inhumane way of our immigrant neighbors, but when it comes down to it, it is the same thing – which is targeting communities of color in a way that to me very much violates human rights and dignity for so many of our communities,” she continued.

“This is a distraction to what is really needed, which is a full comprehensive immigration reform policies in our country. We are far from even getting to that conversation because people are distracted with these for-profit, corporate greed approaches that are coming to experiment on our immigrants and our border,” Tlaib added. “And I say ‘enough.’”

Mona Salama

Mona Salama

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