Asian Americans Advancing Justice – AAJC Commends the Recent Senate Release of Appropriations Bills

Advancing Justice – AAJC calls on Congress to lead our country towards a more humane immigration system
For Immediate Release
Michelle Boykins (202) 296-2300, ext. 0144

WASHINGTON, DC — Senate Democrats released 12 appropriations bills on Thursday morning. The package includes $1.67 trillion in discretionary spending for fiscal year 2023.  The Homeland Security appropriations bill includes robust changes to the immigration system and improvements to immigration enforcement practices.  

Asian Americans Advancing Justice – AAJC issues the following statement:  

“Asian Americans Advancing Justice – AAJC commends Senate appropriators for advancing family unity by recapturing visas and ensuring that visas are not wasted as well as for decreasing overall ICE funding while promoting transparency and Congressional oversight.  

Advancing Justice – AAJC supports the inclusion of language that would reclaim hundreds of thousands of unused green cards and fix an error in the law to prevent unused visas from going to waste in the future. That fix would help improve the efficiency of our immigration system and help provide relief to millions of family members stuck for years in the backlogs, including hundreds of thousands of people from China, India, the Philippines, and other Asian countries.  

We commend the proposal to provide relief to diversity visa program lottery winners who were unable to enter the country due to the previous administration’s immigration bans and those who were unable to enter the country due to COVID-19-related delays.  

Advancing Justice – AAJC supports overall decreases in ICE funding while promoting greater transparency and more Congressional oversight, as well as prioritizing individualized over blanket assessments for detention. We applaud the reduction of ICE detention capacity by 26% due to the tremendous advocacy of immigrant and civil rights organizations. Moreover, after continuous advocacy efforts from organizations to raise concerns about the use of technology to surveil immigrants, we are heartened to see a nearly $100 million reduction in funding for ICE’s electronic monitoring program.  

Reduction of detention capacity must be matched with a parallel reduction in the use of surveillance technologies to prevent the establishment of digital prisons. The Chairman’s mark includes around $345 million in funding for Alternatives to Detention (ATD), which would be a $98 million reduction from fiscal year 2022. ICE would be encouraged to use ATDs for vulnerable populations and instructed to provide a report on overall access to attorneys and representatives of detained individuals at ICE facilities.   

Despite these crucial wins, we remain concerned about the billions of dollars invested in ICE at $8.13 and CBP at $16.4 billion. In particular, the bill increases CBP’s budget by almost $2 billion and would increase the number of border patrol agents by 300. Moreover, despite decreases in ATD funding, the proposal would invest an additional $50 million in digital border technology.   

Advancing Justice – AAJC calls on Congress to lead our country towards a more humane immigration system. We ask for a shift away from dehumanizing immigration enforcement and surveillance. We urge our representatives and policy makers to vote on and pass an appropriations package that supports family unity and decreases ICE funding.”