House Committee Funds Administration’s Super-Sized Immigration Enforcement

In the first week of his presidency, through executive orders, the president laid out harsh proposals for immigration enforcement and border security. However, much of what the president proposes to do requires generous amounts of taxpayer dollars allocated by Congress.

In May, the president submitted a proposed budget which provides record levels of funding for the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) and the Department of Justice (DOJ) that will pay for some of his border wall, additional detention beds, immigration enforcement agents, immigration judges and U.S. attorneys to prosecute immigrants.

This month, the House Appropriations Committee approved both the DHS and DOJ budgets; however, there is still a long approval process ahead. The full House of Representatives must approve these budgets and then they must go through the Senate.

The DHS appropriations bill includes major increases in funding for immigration enforcement, including the administration’s request of $1.6 billion to build 74 miles of border wall.

There is also additional money for a record level 44,000 detention beds. While this is below the administration’s initial request of 51,379 beds, it still represents a significant increase over recent years where immigration detention beds were set at around 34,000.

The bill also includes funding to hire 500 more Border Patrol Agents and 1,000 Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) officers.

The DOJ budget includes funding for 65 more immigration judges and support staff which would allow DOJ to hire a total of 449 immigration judges.

There is also funding to hire extra U.S. Attorneys who would focus solely on prosecuting non-citizens for illegal entry and re-entry, per Attorney General Sessions’ memo to ramp up prosecution of immigration offenses throughout the United States.

Support is also provided for 20 additional attorneys to conduct eminent domain litigation along the Southern border, allowing the government to seize private property so further construction of the wall can begin.

During the markup of these bills, Democrats offered a slew of amendments in an attempt to curb this spending. The amendments, which largely failed on party lines, would have shifted funding for the massive increases for immigration enforcement agents and the border wall to other important security programs at the U.S. Court Guard, Federal Emergency Management Agency, and increased staffing at Ports of Entry.

This funding proposal is a clear effort to super-size immigration enforcement using taxpayers’ dollars and unless the Senate moderates the funding proposal, the United States will experience record level spending on immigration enforcement in the coming year.

Photo by K3nna

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