The White House is requesting supplemental funding from Congress, including nearly one billion dollars in unrestricted funds for detention and border militarization and surveillance, without adequately addressing needs for humanitarian and processing programs. The request also proposes funding for a new type of border facility that, as written, envisions a new form of family detention where people’s movement would be restricted during certain hours every day. The National Immigrant Justice Center (NIJC) urges Congress to reject the proposed funds for Customs and Border Protection (CBP) and Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) and instead support the development of a new approach to humane and logical border processing.
For fiscal year 2023, Congress already has provided $2.8 billion for ICE’s detention system and $6.4 billion for CBP’s border security operations. Congress also has provided $3.5 billion for domestic field operations that are responsible for immigration processing, including asylum screenings at ports. Meanwhile, only $800 million has been allocated to support local governments and nongovernmental organizations providing humanitarian services and reception for arriving migrants.
Given the administration’s disproportionate focus on border militarization and the history of abusive and corrupt behavior by ICE and CBP, NIJC urges Congress to oppose any additional funding for these agencies that is not accompanied by stringent guardrails and programmatic justifications.
- Do not grant the White House the authority to redirect existing or new funds to create “community-based residential facilities” which, as written, would essentially reinstate the harmful practice of family detention
- Reject the request for nearly $1 billion in unrestricted funds for CBP and ICE enforcement, detention, and surveillance
- Reject the more than $100 million additional funding requested for other Department of Homeland Security programs that carry out harmful surveillance and data-sharing programs
- Reject the request for more than $600 million to reimburse the Department of Defense for military deployments to the border that were an inappropriate response to a situation that requires a humanitarian approach
- Deny the White House the authority to use ICE and CBP funds to facilitate so-called “voluntary returns,” which in practice involve the forced turnback of people seeking asylum at the border
To support a more humane and fair immigration system, NIJC encourages Congress to support the White House’s request to provide additional funding to the Shelter and Services Program, which funds local governments and NGOs to provide respite and services to people arriving at the U.S.-Mexico border. We continue to urge Congress to move this program out of CBP’s purview, provide more rigorous oversight, and address problems relating to distribution and coordination.
Congress must stop issuing blank checks to ICE and CBP, and should instead move the U.S. immigration processing system toward humane solutions that would provide a fairer and more orderly welcome for people who arrive at the border.
Jesse Franzblau is a senior policy analyst at the National Immigrant Justice Center.