In the next few weeks the U.S. congress must pass a budget for the remainder of FY 2017. Now is the time to speak out to ensure this budget reflects our biblical call to welcome the stranger and to care for those living in poverty.
In addition to the billions already allocated, the administration has asked Congress to find $3 billion in funding through the end of September 2017 for the border wall, and a massive expansion of border agents and detention facilities.
$1.4 billion will go towards building the border wall
$1.2 billion will go towards detention and removal operations
$5 million will go towards expanding the 287(g) program through which ICE (Immigration and Customs Enforcement) commissions local law enforcement officers to function as immigration agents.
$76 million will be allocated to the hiring of 10,000 additional ICE agents
$65 million goes to recruit 5,000 Border Patrol agents
$88 million to build physical infrastructure, such as dormitory housing and training capacity for new agents.
This funding does not fix our basic problem: A broken immigration system that tears up families and needs comprehensive reform. Worse, the $3 billion would be taken from vital education, housing, and nutritional assistance programs that promote public safety and alleviate poverty.
The Christian Reformed Church, in 2010 said that the biblical call to welcome the stranger with justice and compassion compels us to work for comprehensive immigration reform in the United States. Walling off our southern border, expanding enforcement, increasing deportations, separating families, and sowing fear within our immigrant communities is NOT comprehensive reform. We can’t enforce our way out of a broken immigration system. Congress needs to hear from you! Ask them for faithful, long-term solutions.
Contact your members of Congress to ask them to say no to additional funding for the Department of Homeland Security and work for comprehensive immigration reform!
Image credit: Christy Berghoef