For Immediate Release: January 23, 2019

Contact: Nicky Vogt at 610-389-1314 or

Over 100 National and Local Organizations Urge Congress to Reject Trump-McConnell Anti-Immigrant Proposal

WASHINGTON, DC - With Senate votes scheduled for tomorrow, 112 organizations from across the nation came together to express their vehement opposition to the Trump-McConnell “End the Shutdown and Secure the Border Act” anti-immigrant bill, which would dramatically increase the number of detention beds and Customs and Border Protection and Immigration and Custom Enforcement agents; fail to provide real relief for Dreamers and Temporary Protected Status (TPS)-holders; gut the asylum process; and build an ineffective and wasteful border wall.

 In the letter, over 100 organizations enumerate their shared grievances, concluding, “we urge you to reject the “End the Shutdown and Secure the Border” Act. This bill is an extreme, enforcement-heavy approach that pays lip service to providing relief to immigrant communities. It is not a good faith effort to negotiate on immigration policy. After nearly a month of a painful government shutdown, we ask that you pass H.R. 268 and immediately open the government without these poison pills.”

See below for full text of letter…

January 23, 2019

The Honorable Mitch McConnell Majority Leader

Re: Reopen the federal government without poison pill policy proposals Dear Majority Leader McConnell and Leader Schumer:

We, the undersigned organizations, write to ask you to reject the Trump-McConnell “End the Shutdown and Secure the Border Act” and to reopen the government immediately instead of holding federal workers hostage for extreme immigration proposals. This bill includes many poison pills designed to dramatically expand immigration enforcement, while banning Central American children from accessing asylum and worsening the status quo for individuals with Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) and Temporary Protected Status (TPS) protections. It is in no way a good faith, bipartisan effort to resolve the current government shutdown. We therefore urge you to pass H.R. 268, the Supplemental Appropriations Act of 2019, given the Senate passed a similar bill in the previous Congress.

Instead of compromising, the Trump-McConnell bill adds to the Trump Administration’s demand that wastes billions of taxpayer dollars on an unnecessary, excessive wall and unjustified enforcement and further shuts the door to those seeking refuge in the U.S. This bill includes $5.7 billion taxpayer dollars for the border wall without a clear plan for construction or an accounting of the possible damage to the environment, local communities and tribal nations. In addition, the bill includes funding to hire 750 more Border Patrol agents and 2,000 more ICE agents, as well as a 20% increase to ICE detention and removals to allow ICE to jail an average of 52,000 people per day. At a time when border crossings are at historic lows, this dramatic increase in immigration enforcement is wasteful and harmful to communities across the United States.

Under the guise of “protecting” children, this bill overturns existing asylum law to double down on policies that endanger children’s health and safety. This bill establishes a sham Central American Minors program that forces children to apply for asylum outside of the U.S., allows only those with a qualifying relative in the U.S. to apply--shutting out those fleeing persecution without certain family ties in the U.S.--caps the number of asylum grants at 15,000 a year (regardless of the danger facing individual applicants,) only allows admissions under the CAM program if it is in “the national interest,” and eliminates access to judicial review. It gives the administration up to 8 months to implement the program, but in the interim would immediately ban Central American children from applying for asylum at the border barring thousands of children from obtaining any asylum relief.

Furthermore, the bill overturns a key provision of the Trafficking Victims Protection Reauthorization Act, a true bipartisan compromise informed by child welfare experts, to make all Central American unaccompanied children arriving the border subject to expedited deportations without court review. Eliminating due process makes it difficult for children to navigate a complicated legal process and puts them at risk for return back to life-threatening circumstances. Imagine a ten-year-old child, arriving alone and scared, being given only one shot to articulate to an immigration officer the history of violence she is fleeing, and facing deportation if she cannot. That’s what this bill does: rather than keep children safe, these provisions will make it harder for children to access life-saving protection and result in many being returned to harm. In addition, this bill also makes fewer people eligible for asylum by making it harder for immigration judges to hear asylum cases and limiting judicial review among other provisions. This bill turns our back on international obligations and our values.

The supposed “compromise” in this bill to protect immigrant youth and TPS holders is a Trojan horse that actually protects fewer people than those currently protected by court orders. This proposal only allows those with current DACA to apply for temporary relief. And even then, the bill includes many new restrictions that were not in the DACA or TPS programs, meaning that fewer people than currently hold the statuses are likely to qualify. It eviscerates the TPS program going forward, leaving people stranded in the United States with no avenue for relief to protect against forced return to deadly circumstances caused by natural disaster or war. The bill only protects individuals with TPS from Honduras, Nicaragua, El Salvador and Haiti. It does not include those with Deferred Enforced Departure (DED) from Liberia or those with TPS from Guinea, Sierra Leone, Nepal, Sudan, South Sudan, Yemen, Somalia and Syria, who have lost or may soon lose protections. This bait and switch actually worsens the status quo and fails to provide permanent protections from deportation for our family members, neighbors and community leaders who have had lawful presence in the U.S. for many years.

Finally, the bill includes $563 million in funding for the immigration court that would enable the hiring of 75 more immigration judge teams. But the bill does not include any reforms necessary to improve the court’s ability to ensure due process and the fair and efficient review of all cases. Reforms are vital to reduce the ballooning 800,000 case backlog that the Trump administration has made worse by restricting judges’ authority to control their own dockets and reopening 350,000 low priority cases previously removed from dockets.

In conclusion, we urge you to reject the “End the Shutdown and Secure the Border” Act. This bill is an extreme, enforcement-heavy approach that pays lip service to providing relief to immigrant communities. It is not a good faith effort to negotiate on immigration policy. After nearly a month of a painful government shutdown, we ask that you pass H.R. 268 and immediately open the government without these poison pills.


National Organizations


African American Ministers In Action America’s Voice

American Immigration Lawyers Association

American Federation of Teachers

American Friends Service Committee

Amnesty International USA

Asian Americans Advancing Justice | AAJC Asian Pacific American Labor Alliance, AFL-CIO Asian Pacific Institute on Gender-Based Violence ASISTA

Asylum Seeker Advocacy Project (ASAP) Bend the Arc: Jewish Action

Center for American Progress

Center for Law and Social Policy

Center for Gender and Refugee Studies Chispa

Church World Service


Coalition on Human Needs

Courage Campaign


Defenders of Wildlife

Detention Watch Network

Disciples Refugee & Immigration Ministries Earthjustice

Fair Immigration Reform Movement (FIRM)

Fair Immigration Reform Movement Action (FIRMA) Faith in Public Life

Families Belong Together

Farmworker Justice

Freedom Network USA

Friends of the Sonoran Desert


Hispanic Federation

Hope Border Institute

Human Rights Campaign

Human Rights First

Immigrant Legal Resource Center

Immigration Equality Action Fund

Immigration Hub



Latin America Working Group (LAWG)

Leadership Conference of Women Religious

League of Conservation Voters



National Advocacy Center of the Sisters of Good Shepherd

National Alliance to End Sexual Violence

National Center for Lesbian Rights

National Council of Jewish Women

National Domestic Violence Hotline

National Education Association

National Immigrant Justice Center

National Immigration Law Center

National Network for Immigrant and Refugee Rights

National Partnership for Women & Families

National Resource Center on Domestic Violence

National Survivor Network, Policy

NETWORK Lobby for Catholic Social Justice

Poligon Education Fund

Service Employees International Union (SEIU)

Sierra Club

Sisters of Mercy of the Americas - Institute Justice Team South Asian Americans Leading Together (SAALT) Southeast Asia Resource Action Center

Southern Border Communities Coalition

Southern Poverty Law Center

The Leadership Conference on Civil and Human Rights UndocuBlack Network

Advocacy Center of the Sisters of the Good Shepherd Alliance to End Sexual Violence

Center for Lesbian Rights

Council of Jewish Women

Domestic Violence Hotline

Education Association

Immigrant Justice Center

Immigration Law Center

Network for Immigrant and Refugee Rights Partnership for Women & Families Resource Center on Domestic Violence Survivor Network, Policy

Unitarian Universalist Service Committee United We Dream

Veterans for American Ideals Washington Office on Latin America Win Without War

Young Center for Immigrant Children's Rights YWCA USA


State/Local Organizations

Al Otro Lado

Arizona Coalition to End Sexual and Domestic Violence Arkansas United

Austin Region Justice for Our Neighbors

Central American Legal Assistance

DC-MD Justice For Our Neighbors

End Domestic Abuse WI

FL Immigrant Coalition

Florida Immigrant Coalition

Fuerza Del Valle

Grassroots Alliance for Immigrant Rights

Haitian Americans United for Progress


Her Justice

Illinois Coalition for Immigrant and Refugee Rights Joan G. Lovering Health Center

Kino Border Initiative

Legal Aid Justice Center

Los Angeles LGBT Center

Mississippi Immigrants Rights Alliance

Move Forward Staten Island

Nebraska Appleseed

NM Dream Team

Northern Illinois Justice for Our Neighbors

Ohio Domestic Violence Network

Sanctuary for Families

SC Appleseed Legal Justice Center

South Texas Human Rights Center

Tennessee Immigrant and Refugee Rights Coalition

The Florence Immigrant & Refugee Rights Project

The Green Valley/Sahuarita Samaritans

Vermont Network Against Domestic and Sexual Violence WeCount!