Rep. Rashida Tlaib calls to defund immigration agencies

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Rep. Rashida Tlaib calls to defund immigration agencies

​Rep. Rashida Tlaib, original member of the progressive “Squad,” is calling for defunding immigration agencies like Customs and Border Protection, Immigration and Customs Enforcement, and even the Department of Homeland Security, because they “terrorize” migrant communities.

Tlaib (D-Mich) in comments released Wednesday from an interview with Just Futures Law was reacting to a question about her thoughts on President Biden wanting to increase technology at the border for CBP​, Immigration and Customs Enforcement​ and the Department of Homeland Security in response to the ongoing crisis of hundreds of thousands of illegal immigrants arriving in the US.

“Look, the simple answer to that question is we must eliminate funding for CBP, ICE and their parent organization, DHS,” Tlaib told the legal group that opposes deportation.

“Time after time we have seen it as advocates on the ground, as human services agencies on the ground continue to see over and over again, that these agencies are inept to humanely guiding migrants through our immigration system and instead they further continue to terrorize migrant communities located within our communities,” she said in the interview​ recorded last month.​

Central American asylum seekers wait as U.S. Border Patrol agents take them into custody.
Central American asylum seekers wait as U.S. Border Patrol agents take them into custody.
John Moore/Getty Images

Tlaib is a key member of the “Squad,” along with Reps. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez of New York, Ayanna Pressley of Massachusetts and Ilhan Omar of Minnesota.

Tlaib, who has previously called for defunding the police and been critical of immigration policies, said other Democrats are also opposed to increasing technology at the border.

“This approach is something that many, especially the new members of Congress, are coming with full force and pushing back against this idea,” Talib said.

“They rename this kind of militarization or targeting in a very inhumane way of our immigrant neighbors, but when it comes down to it it is the same thing – which is targeting communities of color in a way that to me very much violates human rights and dignity for so many of our communities,” she added.

Mexican deportees walk across the U.S.-Mexico border bridge while being released by U.S. immigration authorities into Mexico.
Mexican deportees walk across the U.S.-Mexico border bridge while being released by U.S. immigration authorities into Mexico.
John Moore/Getty Images

Tlaib argued that Congress should pass real immigration reform. ​

“This is a distraction to what is really needed, which is full comprehensive immigration reform policies in our country. We are far from even getting to that conversation because people are distracted with these for-profit, corporate greed approaches that are coming to experiment on our immigrants and our border. And I say enough​,” she said. ​

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