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As Schumer and Pelosi Offer Up $1.3 Billion, Progressives Say 'Not One Dime' Should Go to Trump's Anti-Immigrant Agenda

"Saying it louder for the people in the back: Start and with $0 for Donald Trump's border wall."

Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.) and House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) are the Democratic Party's top lawmakers. (Photo: Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images)

"Memo to humanity that not one dime should go towards funding the human rights abuses of this administration."

With House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) and Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.) reportedly preparing to offer President Donald Trump $1.3 billion for his brutal anti-immigrant agenda during a scheduled budget meeting Tuesday morning, that was the message from Rep.-elect Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-N.Y.), who joined other progressives in warning the Democratic leadership against capitulating to the Trump administration's xenophobic border policies—and argued the amount of funding they should offer is zero.

"If anything," Ocasio-Cortez added in her tweet, "they need to fund healthcare for the children they have traumatized (with lifelong implications) after months of separation from their parents."

The ACLU joined the chorus of immigrant rights advocates and progressive lawmakers arguing that any funding for Trump's border policies would be unacceptable and a total political failure for Democrats.

"Saying it louder for the people in the back: Start and end with $0 for Donald Trump's border wall," the ACLU tweeted late Monday.

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While Schumer has attempted to evade criticism that he is caving to Trump's xenophobic agenda—which just last month resulted in the teargassing of asylum-seeking children—by clarifying that the $1.3 billion in funding will be for border "fencing" and not a wall, progressive commentators have argued that this distinction is completely meaningless in practice.

"Schumer has been blustering to anyone that will listen that this money (his original potential offer was $1.6 billion) is for 'border security' and not 'the wall' but everyone knows that the two things have become synonymous," Splinter's Jack Crosbie wrote ahead of the budget meeting. "Fence, wall, whatever. They gave in and now Trump can spin this however he wants."

In a series of Thursday morning tweets ahead of his meeting with Pelosi and Schumer, Trump kicked off the spin by claiming that "Democrats voted for a wall" in 2006. In fact, many Democrats, including Schumer, voted for hundreds of miles of fencing along the U.S.-Mexico border—demonstrating critics' point that "fence" and "wall" have effectively come to mean the same thing and that funding for either should be rejected.

With their offer to hand Trump over a billion dollars in "border security" funding in an effort to avert a partial government shutdown, Pelosi and Schumer are ignoring urgent demands from human rights groups to completely cut off funding to all Border Patrol operations until the administration stops illegally barring asylum seekers.

"By turning away asylum-seekers at ports of entry, U.S. authorities are violating their right to seek asylum from persecution and manufacturing an emergency along the border," Amnesty International declared. "This queue along the border exposes people who seek asylum to risks of detention and deportation by Mexican immigration officials, and exploitation by criminal gangs."

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