Activists Engage Rep. Josh Gottheimer on ICE Funding at Animated Town Hall

The topic of federal immigration policy came up at a town hall held this weekend by U.S. Rep. Josh Gottheimer, who was confronted about his role in coordinating Blue Dog Democrats to support the Senate appropriations bill, which gives billions to immigration and enforcement and does not provide humanitarian aid of the House bill.

The topic of federal immigration policy came up at a town hall held this weekend by U.S. Rep. Josh Gottheimer (D-5).

New Jersey immigrant organizations and allies want Congress to defund ICE and CBP in a series of actions over the July 4th congressional recess.  At the town hall, they confronted Gottheimer directly over his role in coordinating Blue Dog Democrats to support the Senate appropriations bill, which gives billions to immigration and enforcement and does not provide humanitarian aid of the House bill.

The congressman defended himself, referring to the picture taken last week of a man and his child who drowned while trying to cross the U.S.-Mexico border.

“Just one example, unfortunately, of what’s been going on for far too long,” Gottheimer said. “So the question is, what can we do to get humanitarian aid to the border right away. That was the issue on the table specifically on the week that we are discussing.”

He had a choice, he told the crowd.

“The choice we faced was do we take a bill [authored by progressive Senator Leahy from Vermont] in the senate, support from three quarters of all the senators, Nancy Pelosi supported it, nine of 12 congresspeople from New Jersey supported it, which would get humanitarian aid to the border or do we go home with nothing,” the congressman said.

He picked immediate aid to the border.

Turbulence ensued.

“They’re not getting the aid,” a woman shouted. “ICE is getting the money.”

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