Biden Uses Budget to Double-Down on Open-Border Policies
FAIR Take | March 2023
Faced with unprecedented levels of illegal migration, President Biden last week released his $6.8 trillion budget proposal, which includes billions in taxpayer dollars to continue his open-borders agenda.
The most critical part of the President’s budget is his proposal to further gut immigration enforcement. First, the Biden budget proposes cutting funding for the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) by one percent. Within Homeland Security, the budgets for both Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) and Customs and Border Protection (CBP) would be cut, going from $9.1 to $8.7 billion and $20.8 to $19.5 billion, respectively.
The details only get worse. Under Biden’s proposal, border security operations would be cut from $6.4 to $5.7 billion, including a decrease of more than half a billion dollars for the Border Patrol alone. Additionally, funding for border security assets and infrastructure would face cuts at a time when they are badly needed. Finally, instead of protecting the border, the Biden Administration is proposing to hire an additional 460 “processing assistants” to more efficiently process illegal aliens and release them into the U.S.
The budget not only undermines border security measures, it severely weakens the ability to enforce the immigration laws in the interior of the country. Once again, the Biden Administration is proposing to cut the number of aliens maintained in detention facilities to 25,000, a decrease of over 25 percent (9,000) from the current fiscal year and a decrease of 40 percent from fiscal years 2019 and 2020, which averaged around 45,000. On top of decreasing detention capacity, the President’s budget would reduce funding for alternatives to detention activities (such as electronic monitoring and alien check-ins that help the government track people in the country illegally) by $97 million.
President Biden’s budget also makes clear that even deporting criminal aliens is not a priority. The budget reveals that there are 5.3 million people on the “non-detained docket,” typically aliens who are in the country illegally, released into the interior, and waiting for a court hearing. Of those 5.3 million, a stunning 407,000 are convicted criminal aliens. Nevertheless, Biden’s budget only provides enough funding to remove a mere 7 percent of these criminals (a total of 29,389, compared to 150,000 criminal alien removals on average under the Trump Administration).
While cutting funding for these key agencies, the President wants taxpayers to bankroll a $4.7 billion “contingency fund” to be released to CBP, ICE, and FEMA, ostensibly to address surges in migration, but without any clear description of activities to be funded or oversight of how the money is to be spent. With DHS Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas as the architect for the President’s open-borders policies, creating a slush fund of billions for him to draw on will only further embolden the Administration and exacerbate the border crisis.
The Biden budget proposal also recommends that taxpayers bail out U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS), the agency responsible for legal immigration, asylum and refugees, and humanitarian programs. The proposal includes $1.1 billion in taxpayer funding for USCIS – which has historically been funded by fees from aliens seeking benefits. This taxpayer bailout would support processing of asylum applications, refugee admissions, green cards and naturalization applications, and a grant program to promote citizenship and inclusion.
Several other provisions in the President’s budget round out the picture of how the Administration plans to implement its open-borders policies. It provides $7.3 billion to the Office of Refugee Resettlement to support a goal of admitting another 125,000 refugees while asylum seekers flood the southern border; another $430 million to the Department of State to promote the radical Los Angeles Declaration on Migration and Protection; and $150 million to bolster the efforts of legal advocacy organizations and make immigration proceedings “more equitable.” It also proposes continuing the “catch and release” of unaccompanied minors.
When viewing President Biden’s budget as a whole, what is most notable is that it does not change course. Instead, it doubles down and further advances the same immigration policies and programs that caused the border crisis in the first place. In maintaining this course, the Biden Administration is once again proving that it is more concerned with appeasing open borders activists than protecting American citizens, throwing the border open for any and all to come, leading to fentanyl and human trafficking, along with dozens of suspects on the terror watchlist and tons of illegal narcotics flowing across.
As highlighted by FAIR, American taxpayers are already on the hook for $151 billion to offset the costs of illegal immigration every year. President Biden’s budget compounds this cost with programs to help illegal aliens while risking the national security and public safety of Americans.