President Donald Trump’s latest budget is packed with ways the administration wants to curb illegal immigration in the U.S. beyond just the $8.6 billion for his much-desired border wall.
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Across the federal government, the White House plan calls for an all-hands-on-deck approach from increasing the number of officers who can detain and deport illegal immigrants, to proposing to punish the “sanctuary cities” that protect them.
While the proposal has almost no chance of passing the Democratic-controlled House, it outlines the administration’s priorities for the year and suggests immigration will remain Trump’s focal point for the year.
“All who are privileged to hold elected office must work together to create an immigration system that promotes wage growth and economic opportunity while preventing drugs, terrorism, and crime from entering the United States,” the budget plan states. “Immigration policy, like all policy, must serve the interests of Americans living here today—including the millions of new Americans who came here legally to join our national family.”
On top of $8.6 billion more for a wall, the White House budget proposal would fund 5,000 new Border Patrol Agents and allow Immigration and Customs Enforcement to add 10,000 officers and investigators while expanding detention centers, according to the White House budget office.
The budget also would replace military construction funds that would be depleted by the border wall after Trump declared a national emergency.
When Trump first took office, ICE facilities held an average of 34,376 people on any given day. Last week that number topped 50,000 and the new proposed budget would allow for further increases.
Democrats fought detention center expansions in negotiations that ended the government shutdown earlier this year. Although they did not stop ICE transferring funds from elsewhere in the agency to expand the number of beds in their facilities, according to the Migration Policy Institute.
As the number of detainees continues to climb, immigration judges face a record backlog of cases. Trump’s new proposal increases Justice Department funding to grow the number of immigration judges by nearly 20 percent, the budget office says.
National Park officers are also expected to crack down on illegal crossings through federal land near the border.
“We are going to be working ever more intensely with our friends in CBP and the law enforcement agencies to interdict drug smuggling along the border,” Scott Cameron, a top Interior Department official, said on a call with reporters.
The Interior Department has more than 4,000 federal law enforcement officers and has been increasingly focused on deploying those resources to the border.
The budget also includes proposals aimed at “sanctuary cities.” The measures would allow the administration to withhold funding from cities that don’t “cooperate with specific federal immigration enforcement activities and requests.”
The Trump administration’s efforts to crack down these jurisdictions have been stopped by appellate courts multiple times.
These immigrants “make our communities stronger — it’s time we gave them stability, REAL protection under the law, and a pathway toward citizenship,” tweeted Rep. Jimmy Gomez, D-Calif.