WASHINGTON--(BUSINESS WIRE)--The Friends Committee on National Legislation (FCNL) today welcomed the bipartisan budget agreement negotiated by Congress to keep the federal government funded through the rest of the fiscal year. However, FCNL deplores the declaration of a national emergency at the southern border.
“The current funding compromise is not the one that we would write. But due to the looming threat of a second shutdown that could have gone on indefinitely, we were left to choose between bad options. What is important here is that the federal government remains open while lives and services will not be further disrupted,” said Diane Randall, executive secretary of the FCNL. “That can’t be ignored or minimalized.”
Department of Homeland Security (DHS) funding, as well as potential funding for more wall to be built along the southern border, have long been the controversial sticking points that precipitated the longest government shutdown in American history. The bill has approximately $1.375 billion for new border wall.
“DHS has shown itself to be an unaccountable agency, both when it comes to the respectful humane treatment of refugees and the responsible use of tax dollars. Their track record is not one that warrants an increased budget. If anything, it should be cut,” said Hannah Evans, FCNL’s policy representative for immigration and refugee policy.
The DHS bill also increased by 12 percent the number of people – including children – allowed at immigration detention centers and jails.
“The only national emergency at the southern border is the one caused by taking children from their families, jailing people fleeing violence, and deploying the military to border communities that are currently some of the safest nationwide. This sets a dangerous precedent that will not be easy to undo. Simply saying there is an emergency does not make it so, nor legal,” said Evans.
The DHS bill also provides $1.2 billion more for peacebuilding programs than the administration had requested – a small increase over what Congress approved last year. It also makes Saudi Arabia ineligible for the $30 million in annual discounts it had been receiving on American military training.
To learn more, please visit www.fcnl.org.