President Biden has taken historic steps to secure our border and rebuild a safe, orderly, and humane immigration system that was gutted by the previous Administration. Over the past two years, the Biden-Harris Administration has secured more resources for border security than any of the presidents who preceded him, deployed the most agents ever—more than 23,000—to address the situation at the border, prevented record levels of illicit fentanyl from entering our country, and brought together world leaders on a framework to deal with changing migration patterns that are impacting the entire Western Hemisphere. The Administration has also put in place new measures to enhance security at the border and reduce the number of individuals crossing unlawfully between ports of entry while expanding and expediting legal pathways for orderly migration for individuals from Cuba, Haiti, Nicaragua, and Venezuela. The President also outlined new consequences for those who fail to use these new legal pathways.
The President’s Budget includes billions of dollars to keep America’s borders secure and enforce our immigration laws, while expanding legal pathways for migrants seeking asylum. Funding will be used to modernize border facilities, invest in technology, ensure the safe and humane treatment of migrants in Department of Homeland Security (DHS) custody, and reduce the backlog of immigration cases. Unlike some Congressional Republican officials who are playing political games and obstructing real solutions to fix our broken immigration system, President Biden has a plan and is taking action. The Budget:
- Enhances Border Security and Immigration Enforcement. Strengthening border security and providing safe, lawful pathways for migration remain top priorities for the Administration. The Budget includes nearly $25 billion for U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) and Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE), an increase of almost $800 million over the 2023 enacted level when controlling for border management amounts. The Budget includes funds for CBP to hire an additional 350 Border Patrol Agents, $535 million for border security technology at and between ports of entry, $40 million to combat fentanyl trafficking and disrupt transnational criminal organizations, and funds to hire an additional 460 processing assistants at CBP and ICE.
- Supports a Fair, Orderly, and Humane Immigration System. The Administration is committed to improving the Nation’s immigration system and safeguarding its integrity and promise by efficiently and fairly adjudicating requests for immigration benefits. The Budget includes $865 million for United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) to process the increasing asylum caseloads, reduce the historically high immigration benefit request backlog, support the Citizenship and Integration Grant Program, and improve refugee processing to achieve the Administration’s goal of admitting up to 125,000 refugees.
- Addresses the Situation at the Southwest Border. Given elevated southwest border encounter levels experienced since 2019, the Budget proposes a new $4.7 billion contingency fund to aid the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) and its components when responding to migration surges along the southwest border. Each fiscal year the fund would receive appropriations incrementally, and above the base appropriation, as southwest border encounters reach pre-identified levels. DHS would be limited to obligating funds for surge-related functions, and would transfer funds to CBP, ICE, and FEMA accounts with valid surge-related responsibilities.
- Improves Immigration Courts. Providing resources to support legal representation in the immigration system would help make the system fairer and more equitable, while allowing for greater efficiencies in case processing.The Budget invests more than $1.5 billion in the Executive Ofﬁce for Immigration Review (EOIR) both to manage and mitigate the backlog of over 1.8 million cases currently pending in the immigration courts that this Administration largely inherited from its predecessor. This funding supports 150 new immigration judge teams, which includes the support personnel required to help optimize the operation of the immigration court system. The Budget would also invest new resources in legal access programming, including $150 million in discretionary resources to provide access to representation for adults and families in immigration proceedings.
- Supports America’s Promise to Refugees. The Budget provides $7.3 billion to the Office of Refugee Resettlement (ORR) to help rebuild the Nation’s refugee resettlement infrastructure and respond to the needs of unaccompanied children. The funding would support the resettlement of up to 125,000 refugees in Fiscal Year 2024 and allow ORR to reinforce and expand on the programmatic improvements this Administration has made in the unaccompanied children program, including expanding access to counsel to help children navigate complex immigration court proceedings and enhancing case management and post-release services. In addition, the Budget includes an emergency contingency fund that would provide additional resources, beyond the $7.3 billion, when there are unanticipated increases in the number of unaccompanied children or other humanitarian entrants, building on the contingency fund enacted for 2023.
- Creates Opportunities in Central America and Haiti. The Budget requests more than $1 billion to advance the President’s commitment to work with Congress to provide $4 billion over four years to address the root causes of migration and help the people of the region create safer, more stable futures in their home communities. Assistance would bolster localization efforts, enhance the rule of law, and support economic growth for all segments of society. Further, in response to deteriorating conditions and widespread violence in Haiti, the Budget invests $291 million to strengthen Haiti’s recovery from political, health, and economic shocks, such as strengthening the capacity of the Haitian National Police, combating corruption, strengthening the capacity of civil society, responding to health emergencies and health needs, and supporting services for marginalized populations.
- Bolsters Hemispheric Economic Investment and Migration Management Efforts. In support of the Los Angeles Declaration on Migration and Protection, the Budget invests $430 million for hemispheric migration management. This assistance would bolster stability for affected communities, enhance legal pathways and protection in the hemisphere, and strengthen humane border management throughout the region. The Budget proposes more than $50 million for a new regional economic opportunity fund, the Americas Partnership Opportunity Fund, to support partner countries in the region hosting large populations of refugees and migrant. The budget requests up to $40 million for the Global Concessional Financing Facility to support programs aimed at improving the lives of migrants and refugees in the Western Hemisphere. The Budget also includes $75 million for the Inter-American Development Bank’s IDB Invest to increase private sector investment in the Americas.