Barriers, Beds, a Bill & the Border: Understanding Potential Impacts
Avoiding a shutdown, Congress passed a funding bill late this week that included remaining FY 2019 appropriations. Among the seven areas funded was the Department of Homeland Security--which most directly impacts immigrant communities.

On Friday, the President approved the bill; but immediately also declared a National Emergency in hopes to gather $8 billion for barriers.

"In our view, a border wall which denies bona fide asylum-seekers from entering the country in search of protection—their right under domestic and international law—is immoral.... As such, we strongly oppose a border wall and the declaration of a national emergency and transfer of funds to construct it." 
Statement of Faith Leaders on the Morality of a Border Wall

"Even during the recent government shutdown, ICE shockingly overspent its budget to detain 7% more immigrants. Growing incarceration harms and separates families. Instead, we should keep families together and heal root causes that make dangerous migration journeys--like those of Jesus' own family under Herod--ever feel necessary."
Rev. Sharon Stanley-Rea, Disciples Refugee & Immigration Ministries Director

What's in the Funding Bill?
Despite lack of full funding for the Wall that the President requested, the bill increases immigrant fears by raising enforcement levels through:

  • Heightened ICE and CBP funding-ICE is funded at $7.6 billion; $512 million more than in FY2018. CBP will receive $14.9 billion; $942 above FY 2018.
  • $1.375 Billion for the Wall-This amount is earmarked for "primary pedestrian barriers" in the Rio Grande Valley, with some sensitive wildlife area restrictions.
  • More ICE Detention Beds-Funding levels grew from a FY 2018 average daily detention population of 40.520 to a FY 2019 bed number of 45,274.
  • More ICE Agents, and Replacement of Non Profit Providers by ICE Officers-$40 million in new funding will hire additional ICE agents to manage family case management programs to enroll asylum seekers. Additional funding for Homeland Security Investigations victim specialists and opioid/fentanyl investigators were added.
  • Additional Customs & Border Protection Agents--600 additional customs officers were added.

How Might Our Faith Values Guide Us to Respond?
  • Go here for a Faith Backgrounder to consider how our faith values relate to funding levels around barriers and wall. Discuss what you learn with your friends.

  • Read here the full Statement of Faith Leaders on the Morality of a Border Wall, signed by national faith partners--including our Disciples GMP, and leaders from Global Ministries and Refugee & Immigration Ministries.

  • Plan to offer a Bible Study Series or Lenten Group around reflections on the Wall; to be released as an 8 part devotions set before Feb. 28th. RIM WRAP will email it out, and it will be posted on our RIM website.

  • Contact your Legislators, following reflection and prayer, to share your feelings. They'll continue to be home on recess through Feb 24th. To find your state and national leaders, visit

We invite you to donate to support the ongoing work of Disciples Refugee & Immigration Ministries to ensure justice for refugees, immigrants, and asylum seekers. (Click "choose an option," and select "Refugee & Immigration Ministries.") And--check our RIM website for new refugee & immigration information often!
Follow Disciples Refugee & Immigration Ministries on Twitter @StanleyRea, and on FB at:, and call Rev. Dr. Sharon Stanley-Rea, Director, Disciples Refugee & Immigration Ministries, with any questions: 202-957-7826.