TAKE ACTION: Tell Congress to Support Policies that Welcome Asylum Seekers and Reject the Further Militarization of the Border

June 16, 2023

In May, the Biden administration replaced the harmful Title 42 border policy with a restrictive asylum ban, in effect replacing one Trump-era restriction reducing protections for those seeking protection at our doors with another. Lower border encounter numbers (which remain over 3,000 arrivals each day) belie increasingly dangerous conditions for migrant families, children, and others at risk. 

Due to a return of “metering”-type policies at ports of entry and the asylum ban operating for those who arrive between ports, many migrants have been forced to remain at risk in overwhelmed civil society-led shelters across Mexico. The lower numbers who do make it to the U.S. side of the border, including families and children, have often been held for extended periods in CBP holding cells — called perreras (“dog kennels”) and hieleras (“iceboxes”) — or in open air detention sites that have been the subject of formal complaints due to inhumane conditions. On May 17, 8-year-old Anadith Tanay Reyes Alvarez tragically died in CBP custody. This is a stark reminder that increased funding for ICE and CBP does not equal better conditions for vulnerable migrants and children. Even for migrants who are allowed to stay in the U.S. to pursue asylum claims in immigration court, there are limited federal resources to support them. 

But instead of acting to properly fund a welcoming response, several proposals in Congress have focused on sending billions of dollars to ICE and CBP in an effort to further militarize the border and encourage a deterrence-focused, law enforcement-centered response to migration. The situation demands a humane response that recognizes the dignity of those seeking protection at our shores. Now is the time to urge Congress to reject proposals that seek to militarize the border and to support community-centered welcome for those fleeing persecution.

On the right-hand side, you can send an email or receive a phone call that connects you to your Members of Congress.

Sample Email/Script: “As your constituent from [CITY/TOWN] and [as a person of faith/refugee/ member of my community], I urge you to reject additional funding for CBP and ICE and to support welcoming, humane border solutions.

The end of Title 42 represents an opportunity to reject harmful border policies driven by fear and address the challenges we face with proven solutions that would expand our capacity to welcome those seeking protection. Specifically, I urge you to:

  • Reject legislation and funding proposals that would further entrench anti-asylum policies and further militarize the border. I am extremely concerned about the continued law enforcement-focused, punitive approach to migration, and I urge you to push back against wasteful additional funding for increased military presence at our borders.
  • Support solutions that recognize our long legacy of welcome. I strongly urge you to support funding for local communities, faith groups, and non-profits working to welcome asylum seekers at the border and across the country. Specifically,I urge you to invest in community-based case management programs, the Shelter and Services Program, and critical refugee resettlement program accounts in the Department of Health and Human Services and the State Department. 
  • Reject legislation and funding proposals that increase funding for immigration detention and further restrict the human right to seek asylum. By doing so, Congress should reject the proposed House DHS appropriations bill if it’s brought to the floor as well as resist cosponsoring any legislation that greatly expands resources for punitive immigration enforcement, like the Dignity Act.  Additionally, Congress should prioritize meaningful funding reductions in the following areas for FY 2024:
    • ICE Enforcement and Removal Operations, particularly ICE Custody Operations, to cut funding for detention, deportation, and surveillance programming;
    • Decrease the funded average daily population level for ICE detention to no higher than 15,000 people, where it was at the start of the Biden administration.

Budgets are moral documents. This funding cycle, I encourage you to divest from harmful and wasteful anti-immigrant policies and agencies and invest in humane, coordinated migrant processing that recognizes the dignity of those fleeing persecution. Thank you.”

Amplify on social media: Share this message with national leaders on social media! Below are some sample social media posts and here you can find some sample graphics:

  • Now is the time for Congress to dramatically cut funding from ICE and CBP and turn to compassionate, community centered policies of welcome #DefundHate.
  • Congress has spent nearly 4x more funding on deportations and border militarization than immigrant caste and refugee assistance. Imagine Congress investing in care, not hate!
  • This funding cycle, we should reject violent border and immigration enforcement that have been proven to be harmful and address the challenges we face at the border with compassion.#DefundHate


Thank you for taking action, and please share this alert with your networks!