1. Statement
  2. Immigrants & Refugees

Spending Bill Continues to Leave Dreamers Behind

Rejects Worst Proposals for Extreme Enforcement

By Hannah Graf Evans, March 23, 2018

Congress passed a $1.3 trillion package to fund the government through the rest of this fiscal year. Included in this package is money for the Department of Homeland Security, the agency that carries out detention, deportation, and border enforcement. While the spending bill included many harmful provisions, FCNL and advocates nationwide helped stop some of the most dangerous proposals.

The spending bill does not include a permanent fix for Dreamers or other undocumented members of our communities – which FCNL was pushing for Congress to enact without expanding immigration enforcement. Annual spending on immigration detention, deportation, and border enforcement hovers around $20 billion annually, and the bill includes additional money for detention, investigative enforcement agents, and to continue harmful fencing and barriers between southern border communities.

However, negotiators held the line against many of the worst proposals and increases requested by President Trump. Congress rejected the requested expansion of immigrant detention, which is already at a historic high. They included oversight language to push ICE to detain fewer people on a daily basis, encouraging ICE to utilize alternatives to detention. Congress also rejected additional border patrol agents and ICE agents whose sole purpose is to deport immigrants.

This deal comes on the heels of more than four hundred young adults lobbying Congress to reject extreme immigration enforcement and immediately enact a pathway to citizenship for immigrant youth.

Hannah Graf Evans, FCNL’s lobbyist on immigration stated,

“The congressional conversation has totally changed about immigration enforcement. More elected officials are pushing back against expanding the machinery behind deportation, detention, and harmful border enforcement than ever before. The attendees of this week’s Spring Lobby Weekend and FCNL’s network across the country were a key part of the nationwide, grassroots push against endless enforcement.

“Still, congressional inaction paired with new funding leaves millions of people – including future Dream Act beneficiaries – at risk of imminent detention and deportation. Congress should be ashamed that they’ve abdicated their responsibility to permanently protect Dreamers yet again. The vast majority of the country still wants Congress to enact a pathway to citizenship for undocumented young Americans immediately.

“As Congress discusses funding for next fiscal year and heads into election season, the hundreds of young adults who joined us this week will continue holding Congress accountable to that demand. The tides are shifting, and we will continue to push Congress to prioritize protection over deportation.”

Hannah Graf Evans

  • Former Legislative Representative, Immigration and Refugee Policy

Hannah Graf Evans led FCNL's lobbying for compassionate immigration and refugee policies, with a particular focus on detention practices, the rights of border communities, and protection of vulnerable communities. Hannah served as co-chair of the Interfaith Immigration Coalition steering committee for three years.