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Rep. Rashida Tlaib (D-Mich.) gave an emotional speech at a rally supporting the #DefundHate campaign, calling for an end to funding the Trump administration's aggressive anti-immigration agenda. (Photo: @skenigsberg/Twitter)

#DefundHate: Progressives Tell Democrats Trump's Anti-Immigration Agenda 'Does Not Deserve a Dime' More

"We're here to say that an agency like ICE, which repeatedly and systematically violates human rights, does not deserve a dime."

Julia Conley

At a rally on Capitol Hill Thursday, two progressive freshman lawmakers with personal experiences having immigrated to the U.S. were among those demanding that Congress defund the agencies tasked with violating immigrants' and refugees' rights.

"We don't want money for an institution that is demonizing and criminalizing our immigrant neighbors," said Rep. Rashida Tlaib (D-Mich.), whose Palestinian parents immigrated to the U.S., at the protest organized by United We Dream, Indivisible, MoveOn, and other progressive groups. "We don't want a system that basically has taken away the core values of the American dream."

Democratic representatives to not only stand firm in their negotiations with the Republican Party and Trump by refusing to fund a wall along the U.S.-Mexico border, but go further by demanding cuts to Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) and Customs and Border Protection (CBP).

The groups have called on constituents to call their representatives, asking them also to prevent those agencies from "raiding other accounts, and [demand] a commitment from Trump to not use emergency powers that undermine Congress."

Tlaib grew emotional recalling her mother's journey to the U.S., just months before she was born.

"Never, never could I imagine her having to go through what [families are] going through today," said Tlaib. "And so not on our watch. Not on our watch, because as mothers we will not allow children to die while we are in power here."

Tlaib was joined by Rep. Ilhan Omar (D-Minn.), who came to the U.S. from Somalia as a child.

"I didn't have a cage waiting for me," Omar said. "I had an open arm, people with moral clarity awaiting us and saying, 'You can do a lot. Here is your new home. You're our new neighbor.'"

Now, she added, "In this country, in the United States, people are not welcomed that way."

Reps. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-N.Y.) and Ayanna Pressley (D-Mass.) also pledged to fight in Congress to cut ICE's and CBP's budgets instead of expanding them.

"We're here to say that an agency like ICE, which repeatedly and systematically violates human rights, does not deserve a dime," said Ocasio-Cortez. "Until they can prove that they are honoring human rights...until they can prove good faith to an American ideal, they do not deserve any resources for their radical agenda."

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