Biden Sends “Urgent Budget Request” to Congress; Seeks $13.6 Billion to Support his Open-Borders Policies
FAIR Take | October 2023
President Biden sent an “urgent budget request” to Congress in which he asked for $13.6 billion to fund his open-borders policies that have created chaos at the border and wreaked havoc on American cities nationwide. The request was part of a larger $100 billion aid package the President sent to Congress last week, which requested billions in funding for the wars in Ukraine and Israel. President Biden announced his request to Congress during a televised address from the Oval Office Thursday night.
While President Biden explained the need for more money was to shore up American national security interests, the details of the “urgent budget request” demonstrate that the Biden Administration has no intention of changing its dangerous immigration policies. With only a couple of exceptions, the money is designed to give agencies more money to process and release illegal aliens, to speed up the process of delivering immigration benefits (such as work authorization), and to use taxpayer dollars to support sanctuary cities that encourage illegal immigration. The request also seeks to give the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) and Office of Refugee Resettlement (ORR) money to provide shelter and services to illegal aliens who are released into the U.S.
Of the $13.6 billion requested, $4.47 billion is designated for Customs and Border Protection (CBP) to help process and transport illegal aliens along the southern border. And of this $4.47 billion, an undisclosed amount would be transferred to FEMA so it can funnel the money through nonprofit organizations that provide shelter and services to illegal aliens. This request is not designed to secure the border but to maintain the status quo.
In addition, $2.54 billion would be directed to Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) to hire criminal investigators, attorneys and support staff. While this request could be helpful in normal circumstances, criminal investigators do not conduct immigration enforcement. The request does state that some of the $2.54 billion (again, the amount is not specified) is designed to support “immigration enforcement, detention, transportation, and removal,” however none of this money will be meaningful if the Biden Administration continues to direct ICE to release illegal aliens and refuses to use its expedited removal authority. The more likely outcome is that the money will be used to fund ICE transportation services to take illegal aliens from the border and distribute them across the country.
The budget request also asks for $755 million to go to U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS). This money will go to process more requests for asylum and other immigration benefits (such as parole) through the hiring of additional officers. It will also go to processing work permits for the millions of illegal aliens who have crossed into the U.S. What is particularly egregious about this request is that USCIS has traditionally been funded by fees so that American taxpayers do not pay for the benefits given to aliens. Here, the Biden Administration is not only acknowledging that its open-borders policies are driving up costs on our immigration agencies, but that Biden wants the taxpayers to foot the bill instead of the aliens.
If this weren’t bad enough, the President’s budget request also seeks $1.85 billion to provide direct cash assistance, medical care, and community services to illegal aliens from Cuba and Haiti. Why does the Administration need this? Under the welfare reform law passed in 1996, illegal aliens arriving from Cuba and Haiti are considered “qualified aliens” and are eligible for certain federal public benefits, including Medicaid, Refugee Cash and Medical Assistance, Refugee Social Services, Social Security, Supplemental Security Income (SSI), Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP), Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF), and Federal Student Aid. But despite the enormous fiscal burden these aliens place on Americans, President Biden has been paroling tens of thousands of Cubans and Haitians into the country, and refusing to deport those who cross our borders illegally (even to a safe third country).
Finally, President Biden’s budget request seeks $1.4 billion for the State Department. Of this $1.4 billion, $850 million will go towards providing humanitarian aid in the Western Hemisphere and helping foreign nationals emigrate. Another $450 million will go to Safe Mobility Offices (SMOs), also known as regional processing centers, operated by the State Department. The Biden Administration seeks to expand this program, which places offices in Western Hemisphere countries, such as Guatemala, Colombia, Ecuador, and Costa Rica, in order to provide foreign nationals information on how they can emigrate. In some cases, they also provide direct access to the appropriate immigration programs.
The only meaningful part of President Biden’s budget request was the $1.42 billion designated for the immigration courts, and more specifically to hire 375 additional immigration judges and related staff. The irony here, of course, is that the courts would not be overwhelmed, and their backlog would not be measured by years, if the Biden Administration hadn’t thrown open the borders and practically crushed our immigration institutions with its policies. And, as with the proposal to add Border Patrol and ICE agents, adding more immigration judges will not overcome bad policies, such as the Biden Administration’s recent proposed rule that encourages immigration judges to “administratively close” cases instead of adjudicating them.
In short, President Biden’s budget request is not a serious proposal. It is not designed to stop the tidal wave of illegal immigration across our borders. Instead, it merely promotes the status quo. In light of the fact that the Department of Homeland Security released new statistics over the weekend showing that FY 2023 marked the highest level of illegal immigration in history, President Biden has demonstrated that he does not care about our border security or our national security. Congress must therefore insist that any spending package include meaningful policy changes that end Biden’s open-borders policies.