President Biden continues to implement a migration strategy focused on enforcement, deterrence, and diplomacy. The plan has increased the number of law enforcement personnel along the border and expedited removals of noncitizens without a legal basis to remain in the United States thanks to enhanced enforcement processes and historic diplomatic agreements. At the same time, we have implemented the largest expansion of lawful pathways in decades. Progress has been made, but more funding is required to manage the unprecedented flow of hemispheric migration and to increase our efforts to combat the transnational criminal organizations ruthlessly trafficking fentanyl and other deadly opiates.
The requested funding supports:
More resources for the fight against fentanyl: Funding for additional personnel and investigative capabilities to prevent cartels from moving fentanyl into the country, primarily through Ports of Entry. Through sprints such as Operations Artemis, Rolling Wave, and Argus, Customs and Border Protection and ICE Homeland Security Investigations, we have increased the interdiction of fentanyl, fentanyl precursors and collateral contraband such as pill presses. In Fiscal Year 2023, ICE and HSI conducted more than 5,000 fentanyl-related arrests. The funds in the supplemental will enable both agencies to apply the lessons learned and keep up with the tactics of the transnational criminal organizations that control the fentanyl trade. This includes:
- Hiring 1,000 additional CBP Officers and resources for Homeland Security Investigations.
- Equipping Southwest Border ports of entry with cutting-edge detection technology, in particular Non-Intrusive Inspection (NII) systems to enhance inspection capabilities, including fentanyl detection).
Critical border enforcement activities: As numbers continue to fluctuate, this Administration is committed to treating individuals and families humanely as we expedite the removal process and deliver tougher consequences under Title 8 for those who do not have a legal basis to remain. The supplemental requests funding for border enforcement to reflect the evolving needs of the Department and funds additional resources for CBP, ICE, and USCIS to cover projected shortfalls and hire additional personnel to help right-size a system that was not built to manage the level of encounters we are experiencing. This includes:
- An additional 1,300 Border Patrol Agents to work alongside the 20,205 agents funded in the FY2024 Budget. The funding will also include 300 Border Patrol Processing Coordinators and support staff to help ensure Border Patrol Agents can focus on their critical national security mission in the field.
- An additional 1,600 Asylum Officers and associated support staff to hear migrant claims and facilitate timely immigration dispositions, including expedited removal for those without a valid claim to remain in the United States. As required by statute, expedited removal is not possible if USCIS asylum officers are not readily available to interview those asserting a fear of return. USCIS has never been resourced to adequately manage the growing number of referrals coming in from CBP and ICE. Supplemental dollars will provide the critical resources of USCIS to significantly expand its current credible fear interview capacity.
- Additional detention beds to sustain our current significantly increased use of expedited removal and provide necessary surge capacity. Our experience after the lifting of Title 42 demonstrates that enacting quick consequences on those who fail to use available lawful pathways works. Additional ICE bedspace will allow DHS to process more recent border crossers on expedited timelines when we see increased encounters and swiftly remove those without a legal basis to stay in the country.
- ICE is not funded to hold the number of individuals they currently have in custody year long, this funding provides much needed support to sustain that level of work and offer necessary surge capacity for any periods of elevated encounters.
- With more displaced persons in the hemisphere than ever before, it is of vital importance that we add this surge capacity in order to prevent overcrowding and dangerous conditions in Border Patrol Facilities and avoid instances of high releases directly to border communities.
- Since May 12, DHS has processed 110,000 individuals under expedited removal procedures and completed an average of 4,000 cases each week in which a noncitizen has claimed a credible fear of persecution, which is double the previous high.
- We are also requesting funding for transportation, including an increase in removal flights and resources for Alternatives to Detention in part to enable our Family Expedited Removal Management, or FERM, program. We are also seeking authorization to allow DHS to use transportation funded by appropriated funds to facilitate the movement of non-citizens who choose to depart from the United States in lieu of removal proceedings (“voluntary departure”).
- New non-custodial housing options for noncitizens in expedited removal. In instances where detention is not appropriate for those going through expedited removal, these non-custodial options could include community-based residential facilities with housing, legal orientation, and medical care. We are also requesting this authority to allow additional flexibility for DHS to fund temporary housing facilities and services to manage noncitizens and facilitate their removal for those who are not able to prove a legal basis to stay.
- 1,470 additional attorneys and support staff to match the 375 new immigration judge teams to adjudicate and process immigration cases more quickly and help reduce the caseload backlog.
- Ongoing funding for Department of Defense support provided along the southwest border in FY 2024.
- Resources for third countries to conduct their own repatriation flights and help reduce the flow of migrants to the United States. We are also requesting the authority to provide assistance to foreign countries to conduct these repatriations if the Secretaries of Homeland Security and State determine that support is in the national interest.
- Authorization to allow electronic delivery of Notices to Appear (eNTA), which initiate immigration court proceedings.
Support for communities receiving migrants: Through the EFSP-H and SSP programs, border and interior communities and non-profits receiving migrants have been allocated nearly $800 million in FY2023. The ongoing need and demand for support is tremendous. Noncitizens paroled into the United States through CBP One in our parole process and those granted Temporary Protected Status (TPS) are eligible to apply immediately for work authorization, which enables them to support themselves and their families, reduce the burden on receiving cities, and contribute to the United States economy. We are taking steps to speed work authorizations for those who are eligible. The supplemental request includes:
- An additional $1.4 billion in SSP grants to local governments and non-profits for temporary food, shelter, and other services for recently arrived migrants.
- 30 new USCIS officers to speed up the issuance of work authorization documents for eligible noncitizens. Coupled with ongoing efforts to streamline and improve USCIS processing across all form types, the supplemental will promote timely access to employment authorization documents for noncitizens.
In addition to the DHS needs identified, we strongly support State Department efforts to accelerate the processing of foreign nationals outside the U.S. through new Safe Mobility Offices, USAID’s efforts to stabilize flows through increased support to migrant host communities in the region and integration projects and the Department of Justice’s work to expand the number of immigration judges to speed immigration processing.