The Progressive


A project of Common Dreams

For Immediate Release

Logan Smith

Biden's budget "falls short of the meaningful changes we hoped to see"

President’s budget includes huge increases in the police state, woefully insufficient funding for community


Bend the Arc: Jewish Action released the following statement on Tuesday in response to President Biden's newly-released budget proposal:

"Budgets are not just a reflection of our spending, but of our moral values -- and a statement on whose lives our society values," said Rabbi Jason Kimelman-Block, Washington Director of Bend the Arc: Jewish Action. "President Biden campaigned on a promise to undo inhumane and unjust policies on immigration and take bold action on racial justice. Unfortunately, the president's budget proposal falls short of the meaningful changes we had hoped to see to move our country away from carceral systems that harm immigrants and people of color."

"Years of organizing by our movement in response to the horrific treatment and abuse of immigrants held in inhumane detention facilities resulted in a significant step in the right direction in President Biden's budget with a reduction in the level of funding for immigrant detention. This pressure also resulted in the closure of one of ICE's most egregious detention centers and the reduction of three other centers over abysmal conditions such as abuse toward Black detainees and lack of basic medical care. These closures illustrate why this kind of move away from immigrant detention is not only possible, but critical. At the same time however, the president's budget also contains huge increases in invasive surveillance of border communities and so-called 'e-carceration' instead of investing in community-based programs that welcome immigrants to our country in a humane way.

We are also disappointed in the President's continued conflation of expanding the police state with the goal of community safety - when both data and the lived experiences of Black Americans prove otherwise - coupled with woefully insufficient funding for proven alternatives in community care like deeper investments in public health-based crisis response. President Biden talked a great deal in his budget announcement about 'safety and security,' but unfortunately a great deal of what the president claims 'keeps us safe' actually harms many of us."

On Monday, Bend the Arc: Jewish Action delivered a petition signed by thousands of Jewish Americans to the White House demanding a budget that dramatically decreases funding for the detention, deportation, and surveillance of immigrants and border communities while investing in legal representation, community-based support programs, and true alternatives to detention that keep immigrant families together and in the communities seeking to welcome them with open arms.

"As Jewish Americans prepare to celebrate Passover next month, we are reminded that the Exodus story teaches us that the story of the Jewish people has been one of migration and moving from bondage to freedom," added Kimelman-Block. "We will continue fighting for Congress to pass a budget which invests in the freedom and safety of all of our communities, and makes a case for a future where every single person is valued and can thrive."

Bend the Arc is where progressive American Jews join together to fight for justice and equality for all. We are the only national Jewish organization focused exclusively on progressive social change in the United States.

(212) 213-2113