Governor Cuomo: "It is the height of hypocrisy that you are spending nearly a billion dollars detaining children while trying to slash funding for programs and services on which millions of Americans rely."
Instead of wasting $1 Billion+ on the anti-American policy of detaining immigrant children, how about investing in Pell Grants, Housing, Job Training, or the Gateway Tunnel instead?
Governor Cuomo today issued an open letter to President Donald Trump condemning the federal government's treatment of immigrant children, which reportedly cost nearly $1 billion in 2017. In the letter, the Governor proposes five alternative ways the federal government could spend $1 billion to make a difference in the lives of the American people and not compromise our American values.
Dear President Trump,
It is both shocking and irresponsible -- but sadly not surprising -- that your administration is spending over a billion dollars to continue the immoral and un-American policy of detaining immigrant children. The detention of immigrant children does nothing to improve security and could have a devastating and lasting impact on these children.
Moreover it is the height of hypocrisy that you are spending nearly a billion dollars detaining children while trying to slash funding for programs and services on which millions of Americans rely.
Instead of wasting taxpayer dollars on policies that compromise our American values and put young people at risk, how about instead using these funds to make a real difference in the lives of the American people?
Here are just a few ways to better spend the $1 billion in taxpayer money:
- Increase the award size of Pell Grants to help Americans pay for college, instead of freezing grant levels as you have proposed. The purchasing power of Pell Grants for low- and moderate-income college students stands at its lowest level in more than 40 years, with the maximum grant covering just 29 percent of the cost of attending a four-year public university or college. These grants support the progress New York is making with initiatives like the nation-leading Excelsior Scholarship to ensure everyone has the opportunity to go to college.
- Expand the Community Development Block Grants program to $4.2 billion, back to 2001 levels, instead of eliminating the program as you have proposed. This is one of the most critical programs for states and localities to use to redevelop neighborhoods and tackle public infrastructure projects.
- Restore funding for employment and job training to 2010 levels. While 53 percent of all jobs in today's labor market are middle skill, only 43 percent of U.S workers are trained at this level, meaning that key industries are losing out on economic opportunities.
- Increase the Social Services Block Grant by nearly 60 percent instead of eliminating the program as you have proposed. The current $1.7 billion program provides critical flexible funding to states for services such as child care, child protective services, day programs for seniors and people with disabilities, services for homeless individuals and families, and others.
- Invest in the Gateway Tunnel. Your administration has talked a lot about the need to improve our nation's infrastructure. While $1 billion is only a fraction of what the federal government has previously promised, this would be the first contribution to the project. The new tunnel is essential to the economic future and long-term vitality of the entire Northeast Corridor, which represents 20 percent of the national economy.
In New York, we stand with our immigrant community and we will continue to fight against your administration's disgraceful treatment of immigrant families, including the ongoing detention of children. If neither your conscience nor the voice of the American people compels you to put an end to this injustice, then I hope money will.
Governor Andrew M. Cuomo