Biden Proposes $4.7 Billion Emergency Fund for Border Migrant Surges

Migrants (Credits: KUT.org)

President Joe Biden’s budget proposal for 2025 includes a $4.7 billion emergency fund for border security to enable the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) to respond to potential migrant surges.

The contingency fund would allow DHS to access funds as needed when the number of undocumented migrants crossing the southern border exceeds a certain threshold.

If the funds are not used, they would be transferred to the general funds of Customs and Border Protection (CBP), Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE), and the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA).

Migrants (Credits: Border Report)

However, congressional Republicans are unlikely to support this request, as they have already refused to fund the $13.6 billion the Biden administration requested in an emergency supplemental request for responding to the record high number of migrants crossing the border.

Both CBP and ICE are facing significant budget shortfalls, with ICE potentially needing to cut key operations by May if Congress does not provide additional funding.

Acting CBP Commissioner Troy Miller expressed concerns about the agency’s ability to respond to a potential increase in migrant numbers as the weather warms. He emphasized the importance of additional authorities and resources to quickly screen and send back individuals without valid asylum claims.

Migrants (Credits: The New York Times)

In addition to the emergency fund, Biden’s budget proposal includes funding to hire 1,300 more Border Patrol agents, maintain ICE’s 34,000 existing detention beds, provide $1 billion in aid to Central America to address migration root causes, and allocate nearly $1 billion to address the backlog of over 2.4 million pending cases in U.S. immigration courts.

To combat fentanyl smuggling, the budget seeks funding to hire 1,000 additional CBP officers to stop the illicit drug from entering the U.S. through the Mexico border, as well as $849 million for technology to detect fentanyl at the border.

Senator Jon Tester has urged Congress to fund fentanyl detection technology after reports that some scanners were unused due to Republican opposition to funding placement.

Biden’s budget proposal reflects his administration’s efforts to address border security challenges and respond to the complex issues surrounding migration and drug smuggling along the southern border.