- The Washington Times - Tuesday, June 4, 2019

Instead of giving President Trump the money he wants to solve the border crisis, Democrats on Tuesday said they plan to go the other direction and cut from the border agency and to severely limit ICE’s ability to deport illegal immigrants.

The new 2020 homeland security spending bill would also cancel any spending on Mr. Trump’s border wall, and would claw back money he earmarked in his emergency declaration earlier this year.

The bill heeds the call of immigrant-rights activists who complain of overhearing immigration law enforcement agencies, depriving those officers and agents of new money and instead surging funding to defend migrants’ rights.

Included in the legislation is $21 million for body-worn cameras to be used by Customs and Border Protection — though no funding for new Border Patrol agents that Mr. Trump has sought.

Curiously the bill also blocks new Border Patrol checkpoints, which law enforcement official describe as critical backstops in preventing illegal immigrants and drugs from being smuggled into the interior.

At Immigration and Customs Enforcement, detention beds would be capped at an average of 34,000 a day, and only half of those could be used to hold illegal immigrants arrested in the interior. The bill also explicitly prevents ICE from shifting money to increase capacity.

ICE officials say those strict limits would mean criminals would likely be released into communities.

Democrats’ bill also would end the ability to hold illegal immigrant families in detention.

But the bill pumps money into alternatives to detention, such as counseling programs, phone check-ins and ankle monitoring devices. And the bill increases money to pay for new inspections of immigrant detention facilities.

“The bill protects our nation and the American people in a way that upholds our values as Americans,” said House Appropriations Committee Chair Nita Lower. “This includes upholding the rights and dignity of migrants, protecting against attempts by the Trump administration to steal funds from measures that actually keep us safe for a vanity border wall, and providing no funding for additional Border Patrol agents and checkpoints or border barriers.”

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