1. Update
  2. Immigrants & Refugees

Administration Doubles-Down on Inhumane Immigration Policies

By Jessie Palatucci, April 26, 2019


If all you have is a hammer, everything looks like a nail. Lately it seems that Congress, the administration, even the press, is stuck in a loop on immigration. Every day brings a new attack on our immigrant neighbors. Over and over we are told that there is only one way forward: increased detention, deportation, and border militarization.

Instead of looking for new solutions to the humanitarian crisis on our border—such as community-based alternatives to detention which are more humane, cost-effective, and successful—the Administration is doubling down on their incarceration-first model.

U.S. Border Patrol agents conduct intake at the Central Processing Center in McAllen, Texas, Sunday, June 17, 2018.

U.S. Border Patrol agents conduct intake at the Central Processing Center in McAllen, Texas U.S. Customs and Border Patrol

On April 16, the Department of Justice issued an order preventing asylum seekers from being released on bond. Instead refugees who have “a credible fear of persecution or torture" in their home country will be detained while they wait for their cases to be heard in immigration court — a process that takes months or years.

Today, officials from the Department of Defense announced plans to loosen the rules that prevent military troops from interacting with migrants, paving the way for further militarizing our immigration system.

In reality, immigrant detention is never necessary. It is vastly overused and increasingly fatal. Congress can pave the way for a new approach. The appropriations process is moving forward and in the coming weeks legislators will determine how much taxpayer money each federal department, including the Department of Homeland Security, will receive.

Congress and Immigration and Customs Enforcement are both operating under the paradigm that incarceration is the only response to migration—it’s not. Once we acknowledge that we can begin to address the crisis by investing in real solutions.

Action Alert Divest Funds From Immigrant Detention; Invest in People 

Soon, Congress will choose how much taxpayer money each federal department will receive. Many of them oversee critical programs that benefit people, ranging from anti-hunger and housing programs, to education, and foreign aid.

Background Immigrant Detention Is Costly, Harmful, and Unnecessary 

Participants in FCNL's annual Spring Lobby Weekend will urge Congress to reduce the use of and funding for immigrant detention in favor of alternatives.

Update Five Investments to Address the “Crisis” at the Border 

FCNL and other leading organizations promoting the rights and safety of all immigrants, migrants, and refugees endorsed five ways Congress can address the humanitarian crisis at the border.

Jessie Palatucci

  • Senior Digital Communications Manager

Jessie Palatucci manages FCNL’s digital advocacy program and web communications. She writes extensively for FCNL’s digital publications and communicates with advocates throughout the U.S.