Dear Majority Leader McConnell, Leader Schumer, Speaker Pelosi, and Leader McCarthy:
We, the undersigned elected officials, write to urge you to resist the President’s attempts to extort billions of dollars from American taxpayers to build a border wall and to deny any funding increase that will separate families, expand or incentivize detention and deportation, or further militarize the border. Specifically, we ask you to categorically reject any increases in funding for Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) and Customs and Border Protection (CBP).
As leaders and elected officials from local and state governments from all over the nation, we witness first hand the ways that our constituents and communities suffer at the hands of ICE and CBP. The end of 2018 brought so many heartbreaking incidents: Border Patrol agents tear- gassed asylum seekers, among them several women and children, at the U.S.-Mexico border between Tijuana and San Diego; two children died in CBP custody in the month of December alone; and ongoing ICE raids across the country left immigrant families afraid to leave their homes. It is undisputed that ICE and CBP have an egregious civil and human rights record, that they flout every attempt to subject them to oversight and evade every attempt to hold them accountable for their abuses, especially against communities of color.
Last year, the Trump administration forcibly separated more than 2,600 children from their parents, caged them in substandard facilities and turned a blind eye to abuses they faced from immigration enforcement agents. By terminating the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program and Temporary Protected Status (TPS) for nearly one million people, the administration has ensured the separation of hundreds of thousands of additional families in the near future. These reckless policies are catastrophic to our quality of life, economy, and well-being, which is why so many of us have enacted policies limiting our local governments’ cooperation with federal immigration authorities.
The southern border should be a place of refuge and hope. Rather than terrorizing vulnerable families, the federal government should be concentrating resources on the refugees and asylum seekers asking for protection at our doorstep, and on reuniting the families that have already been separated thanks to the illegal and abusive policies of the Trump administration. In deciding how to spend taxpayer funds in the southern border region, we urge Congress to do what DHS refuses to: consult with local leaders. We know what our residents need -- not detention centers and immigration police and surveillance, but improvements to our schools and our roads, and investments in healthcare and workforce development.
Our communities are not bargaining chips to be traded back and forth by those in power, nor are we willing to stand by and watch while the President exchanges our survival for his own. We strongly urge you to oppose any additional funding for the administration’s deportation machine. Congress must step up to take the fate of our democracy out of the hands of this reckless autocrat. Reopen the government now by overriding the president’s veto, without a single dollar more for a wall, or for immigration police, or for immigrant prisons.
1. Channel Powe, Governing Board President (Phoenix, AZ)2. Lauren Kuby, Vice Mayor (Tempe, AZ)3. Jose Gurrola, Mayor (Arvin, CA)4. Igor Tregub, Commissioner (Berkeley, CA)5. Jesse Arreguin, Mayor (Berkeley, CA)6. Daniel Lee, Councilmember (Culver City, CA)7. Meghan Sahli-Wells, Vice Mayor (Culver City, CA)8. Kelly Kent, President (Culver City Unified School District, CA)9. Tyrell Holcomb, Commission Chairman (Washington, DC)10. John Arena, Alderman (Chicago , IL)11. Zach Adamson, Council Vice President (Indianapolis, IN)12. Christopher Kolb, Vice-Chair (Jefferson County Public Schools, KY)13. Bill Henry, City Councilmember (Baltimore , MD)14. Kate Stewart, Mayor (Takoma Park, MD)15. Pious Ali, Councilor-At-Large (Portland, ME)16. Nicole Brown, Councilmember (Ypsilanti, MI)17. Lisa Bender, City Council President (Minneapolis , MN)18. Steve Schewel, Mayor (Durham, NC)19. Jillian Johnson, Mayor Pro Tempore (Durham, NC)20. Danielle Adams, Supervisor (Soil and Water Conservation District, NC)21. Gayle Brill Mittler, Mayor (Highland Park, NJ)22. Mara Salcido, Lovington School Board (Lea, NM)23. Daniel Corona, Mayor (West Wendover , NV)24. Robin Wilt, Councilmember (Brighton, NY)25. Karen Mejia, Councilmember (City Council, NY)26. Simon Conroy, County Legislator (Clinton County, NY)27. Neil Bettez, Town Supervisor (New Paltz , NY)28. Meg LeFevre, Councilor/Deputy Supervisor (Plattsburgh, NY)29. Anna Kelles, Legislator (Tompkins County, NY)30. John Bouvier, Councilmember (Town of Southampton , NY)31. Brad Lander, Councilmember (New York City, NY)32. George McGonigal, Common Council Representative (Ithaca, NY)33. Tamaya Dennard, Councilmember (Cincinnati, OH)34. Helen Gym, Councilmember (Philadelphia, PA)35. Terry Hall, School Board Trustee (Allendale County , SC)36. Greg Casar, Councilmember (Austin, TX)37. Delia Garza, Mayor Pro Tem (Austin, TX)38. Tartisha HILL, Mayor Pro Tem (Balch Springs, TX)39. Philip Kingston, Councilmember (Dallas, TX)40. Omar Narvaez, Councilmember (Dallas, TX)41. David Stout, County Commissioner (El Paso County, TX)42. John Chapman , City Councilman (Alexandria, VA)43. Adrienne Fraley Monillas, Council President/Mayor Pro Tem (Edmonds, WA)44. Teresa Mosqueda, Councilmember (Seattle, WA)45. Chris Roberts, Councilmember (Shoreline, WA)46. Verna Seal, Councilmember (Tukwila, WA)47. Pete Holmes, City Attorney (Seattle, WA)48. Samba Baldeh, Alder (Madison, WI)49. Tammy Bockhorst, Trustee (Shorewood, WI)