President Joe Biden’s budget provides $7.3 billion for refugees, but only funds an additional 350 border patrol agents to deal with a surge in immigrants crossing the northern and southern borders illegally.
Biden’s $6.8 trillion plan, which he unveiled on Thursday, makes clear his priorities for the upcoming fiscal year.
Included in his plan to raise taxes on the wealthy and corporations to pay for a host of social programs is money for migrants and just $40 million to combat fentanyl trafficking, an issue of growing concern to Americans.
US deaths from fentanyl have been on the rise since the 2010s, rising during covid-19 and continuing to rise under the Biden presidency. In 2022, 107,000 Americans died from drug overdoses.
President Biden’s budget proposal provides $7.3 billion for refugees, but only funds an additional 350 border patrol agents, on top of migrants at the Texas border.
But, in a nod to the Republicans’ call for increased border surveillance, an issue they are expected to insist on with Biden in the 2024 election, the president does include funds to combat illegal immigration.
The president’s proposal outlines $7.3 billion in funding for the Office of Refugee Resettlement to help respond to the needs of unaccompanied children crossing the border or other humanitarian immigrants in need of assistance.
His proposal also allocates nearly $25 billion to US Customs and Border Protection and Immigration and Customs Enforcement. That’s just an increase of $800 million over the 2023 budget level.
The funding increase comes as Biden administration officials have said they expect an increase in the number of migrants crossing the border illegally once Title 42 is lifted on May 11. The pandemic policy, enacted during the presidency of Donald Trump, allowed migrants to cross the border back quickly.
The administration says it has been working on other policies to help combat the expected surge, including the possibility of a major U-turn in its immigration policy, as administration officials weigh reviving a Trump-era policy that stops to families who cross the southern border illegally.
Biden’s budget proposes a new contingency fund of $4.7 billion to help the Department of Homeland Security deal with surges and more than $1.5 billion to deal with the backlog of more than 1.8 million pending cases in the immigration courts.
The funding includes $535 million for border technology, $40 million to combat fentanyl trafficking, and funds to hire an additional 460 processing assistants at CBP and ICE.
And the $865 million for ICE would include funds to increase asylum case processing, work to reduce the backlog of applications for immigration benefits and improve refugee processing.
His budget is likely to be blocked in Congress, and Republicans have already called the plan “reckless” and a “road map to fiscal ruin.”
Biden’s budget proposal also allocates nearly $25 billion to US Customs and Border Protection and Immigration and Customs Enforcement, ahead of National Guard agents in Ciudad Juárez, Mexico, on the Texas border.
Biden’s budget offers just an $800 million increase over the 2023 budget when it comes to fighting illegal immigration: Above, two immigrants from Ecuador sit after crossing the border into Yuma, Arizona.
Biden’s attempts to crack down on illegal immigration as the number of migrants crossing the southern border reaches historic levels.
In 2021, the US saw 1.7 million immigrants arrive in the country. In 2022, that number increased to more than 2 million.
In addition, he is being sued over a proposed rule that would make immigrants ineligible for asylum in the US if they did not first try to apply for asylum in a country through which they passed.
And the immigration problem is growing on the northern border of the United States with increased migration being seen there.
US Customs and Border Protection transferred an additional 25 agents to the northern border earlier this week as the number of migrants crossing from Canada continues to increase.
While illegal crossings at the southern border remain a larger overall problem, the number of crossings in the north has increased by almost 850% and is cause for concern.
It’s a problem that works both ways: some immigrants are actually infiltrating Canada from the US, causing an increase in the number of immigrants to the United States’ northern neighbor.
The Swanton Sector, which includes sections of Vermont, New Hampshire and New York, experienced an 846% increase in apprehensions from October 2022 to this January, compared to the previous year.
President Joe Biden released his $6.8 trillion budget plan Thursday
Agents detained 367 people in January, which they say is more than they have found since 2011 combined.
The annual average number of encounters in the Swanton Sector over the last twelve years is only 28.
The Swanton Sector is a 2,200 square mile area with USCBP agents based in Swanton, Vermont.
There are no fences along the crossing. Much of the area is woods and dirt roads. There is heavy snowfall and wetlands throughout the region at this time of year.
Nearly two-thirds of southbound migrants apprehended by US border agents in Swanton Sector are from Mexico, according to CBP figures.