Democrats Introduce Homeland Security Funding Bill to Gut Immigration Enforcement
By Preston Huennekens | June 7, 2019
On Tuesday afternoon, the House Appropriations Committee announced the introduction of the FY 2020 Homeland Security Appropriations Act. If enacted, this bill will slash border security funding, reduce our detention capacity, and phase out all family detention. As written, it would exacerbate the crisis at the southern border and cripple interior immigration enforcement.
U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP)
In the seven month period between October 2018 and April 2019, Border Patrol apprehended 460,294 aliens at our southwest border. Border patrol agents continue to arrest thousands of aliens every day. Of the three major Department of Homeland Security (DHS) immigration agencies, CBP is the one most in need of additional funding. Instead, this bill cuts the agency’s resources in the midst of a humanitarian and security crisis at the southern border, where CBP is most visible.
This bill slashes $1.1 billion in funding for CBP when compared to the FY 2019 appropriations package. It shackles the ability of CBP to do its job by refusing to fund the hiring of additional border agents, checkpoints, and barriers. These are all things that CBP urgently needs to address the growing crisis at our border. Further, the bill strips $601 million from the FY 2019 Procurement, Construction, and Improvements account, which the President planned to use to finance border wall construction.
These cuts would deliver a devastating blow to CBP’s operational ability and Border Patrol agent morale. The crisis continues to exhaust and strain our overstretched Border Patrol agents. The number of active agents is 7,000 below the government’s target. Staffing at the border is so critically low that DHS suggested it may begin sending extra Transportation Security Administration (TSA) staff to the border in order to relieve exhausted Border Patrol agents. It is baffling that the Democratic House majority would consider cutting their resources during this crisis, but it is no surprise, considering that their only immigration priority is amnesty.
U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE)
Under this funding proposal, ICE actually receives slightly more funding than in FY 2019. However, the bills trims the budget of Enforcement and Removal Operations (ERO) by $343 million. This enforcement group within ICE handles interior immigration enforcement, so any cuts to their budget reduces and constrains their role.