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Today, NIJC and partner organizations the American Immigration Council, Black Alliance for Just Immigration, Church World Service, Human Rights First, Southern Border Communities Coalition, and the Women’s Refugee Commission delivered a letter to the White House’s Office of Management and Budget with key recommendations for priorities for immigrant communities in the president’s budget request for Fiscal Year 2025.

The letter states: “The federal government’s budgetary decisions have a tremendous impact on the daily lives of people seeking asylum, immigrant communities and border communities. As you prepare the President’s annual budget request for FY 2025, we urge you to center the rights and dignity of these communities. Specifically, we urge you to craft a budget that supports a humane, dignified approach to domestic immigration policy by prioritizing funds for adjudication, processing, and community-based respite and support services. Simultaneously, we urge you to downsize budgets for immigration detention, enforcement, and surveillance programs that undermine due process and human rights.

The letter outlines the following priority proposals:

  1. Fund alternatives to detention: Prioritize funding to grow community-based case management programs and downsize the budget for enforcement-based programming. 
  2. Decrease detention: Continue to seek decreased funding for Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) Custody Operations while ensuring increased oversight and improved access to services for those detained.
  3. Increase access to appointed counsel in immigration court: Request sufficient funds to ensure legal representation for all indigent adults, families and children facing removal.
  4. Deprioritize enforcement and surveillance: Decrease Customs and Border Protection (CBP) surveillance programs and ICE and Border Patrol’s over-sized agent corps while ensuring robust CBP processing capacity. 
  5. Improve border reception: Continue to request increased funds for the Shelter and Services Program; work with Congress to create non-custodial, humanitarian reception models at the border.
  6. Address the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) backlog: Request sufficient funding for USCIS to promptly reduce the growing backlog and ensure efficient intake and processing.

Full letter available here.


Heidi Altman is the Director of Policy at the National Immigrant Justice Center.