House DHS Budget Prioritizes Border Communities


WASHINGTON, D.C.— Today, the House Appropriations Committee marked up its proposed FY21 spending bill.

Included in the budget are lines to:

 In response, representatives of community organizations released the following statements:

"This bill would provide much-needed relief for the families, landscapes, waterways and wildlife of the border region. Rescinding wasteful border wall spending and banning the Trump administration from unlawfully using military funds to build the wall is past due. This proposal also drastically cuts the ICE budget, an agency whose detention practices have resulted in separated families and widespread human rights abuses. We applaud the House Appropriations Committee for this effort,” said Dan Millis, Borderlands Program Manager at the Sierra Club’s Grand Canyon Chapter.

“This bill is a good first step to mitigate the enormous damage the Trump administration has done to the borderlands,” said Laiken Jordahl, Borderlands Campaigner at the Center for Biological Diversity. “It’s impossible to put a price tag on blasting sacred sites, plowing over ancient saguaro cactuses or damming the last free-flowing river in the Southwest with a border wall. Justice won’t be served until we tear down the wall and compensate border communities and Indigenous nations for the damages this administration has inflicted on our beautiful borderlands.”

“This legislation demonstrates important progress on the long road to remediate the border wall damage inflicted on wildlife and habitat,” said Bryan Bird, Southwest program director for Defenders of Wildlife. “Defenders applauds the prohibition of federal funding for additional wall construction, including the entirety of the Lower Rio Grande Valley National Wildlife Refuge, as well as allocation of $75 million to FWS for mitigation of environmental impacts caused by the wall on federal lands."

“We need budgets that reflect our values, and this spending bill is a first good step to begin defunding the hyper-militarization of the southern border, which has led to so much destruction, death and abuse. Instead of spending billions of dollars in political props like agents and walls, we should be investing in our communities, where it is needed most, especially during these hard times. We welcome this spending bill and hope it sets the tone for future bills. We need to revitalize, not militarize our border communities,” said Vicki B. Gaubeca, Director of the Southern Border Communities Coalition.

“South Texans have seen the damage imposed by barriers, infrastructure and militarization of our borderlands for decades. Continuing to waste money on the border wall is squandering much-needed resources that could be used to fight the COVID-19 pandemic and foster long-term investments into our communities,” said Christina Patiño Houle, Network Weaver at the Rio Grande Valley Equal Voice Network. “This budget proposal makes an overdue effort to reverse the pattern of over-militarization, human rights abuses and unequal protection under the law for border communities. We urge Congress to support these efforts to defund hate.”

“This bill points the way to justice for border communities,” said Adam Isacson, Director for Defense Oversight at the Washington Office on Latin America. “It’s a long road that goes through stopping and reversing wall-building, saving asylum, and rethinking the use of force, detention, treatment of children, effective oversight, and our border law enforcement agencies’ troubled, militarized culture. The House Homeland Security appropriation takes some very important first steps on this journey. It’s a courageous bill.”

About the Sierra Club

The Sierra Club is America’s largest and most influential grassroots environmental organization, with more than 3.5 million members and supporters. In addition to protecting every person's right to get outdoors and access the healing power of nature, the Sierra Club works to promote clean energy, safeguard the health of our communities, protect wildlife, and preserve our remaining wild places through grassroots activism, public education, lobbying, and legal action. For more information, visit