Obama’s 2013 Budget Proposal – Big Spendings on Immigration Enforcement

February 26, 2012 § Leave a comment

Enforcing and administering immigration laws is one of the prioritized mission areas outlined in President Obama’s FY 2013 Budget Proposal. The budget proposal estimates a total spending of $3.8 trillion in 2013, of which over $20 billion has been requested by The Department of Homeland Security for immigration purposes. The three agencies in charge of administering and enforcing immigration laws are the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS), Immigration & Customs Enforcement (ICE), and Customs & Border Protection (CBP). CPB ranks the highest in terms of its proposed budget spending by having requested $11.979 billion, a 2% increase from 2012 enacted. Much of its planned budget will go toward great capacity at ports of entry. The US-VISIT program would also be transferred out of the National Protection and Programs Directorate and into CBP, with a budget of $261.5 million. The following is a break-down of the proposed budget figures from each agency (a more detailed summary of these findings can be found on Immigration Impact):

Customs and Border Protection (CBP)
FY2013 request: $11.979 billion (a 2% increase from 2012 enacted)

Maintains funding for 21,370 Border Patrol agents.
Recommends savings of $1.3 million by closing 9 inland Border Patrol stations in Idaho, Texas, and California.
Proposes a 2% increases for border security, inspections, and trade facilitation at ports of entry and maintains funding for 21,186 CBP officers
Includes $327.1 million for physical and technological infrastructure and surveillance on the borders.

Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE)
FY2013 request: $5.644 billion (a 3.7% decrease from FY2012 enacted)

A total of $1.6 billion to identify immigrants convicted of crimes who may be deportable and to remove them if they are deported.
A proposed decrease of 25% for the 287(g) program. 287(g) is to be scaled back in deference to the Secure Communities program.
A proposed 26.6% decrease for Secure Communities (S-Comm)/Comprehensive Identification and Removal of Criminal Aliens. It’s important to remember that for ICE, S-Comm is only the information sharing between databases. Since only 11% of all jurisdictions remain inactive, there is an overall decrease in funding for equipment and services necessary to activate the program.
A proposed 10.2% increase for the Criminal Alien Program (CAP) and the Law Enforcement Support Center (LESC). When immigrants are identified through S-Comm, the CAP program is responsible for interviewing and initiating removal proceedings against noncitizens held in jails and prisons.
Funding for 32,800 detention beds, which is a reduction from 34,000 beds in FY2012 enacted.
A corresponding proposed 35% increase for Alternatives to Detention (ATD) for low-risk individuals who will not be kept in detention facilities.

Within ICE, the identification and removal of “criminal aliens” remains the priority. There is a shift away from the 287(g) program and the Fugitive Operations Program, and toward Secure Communities, which is expected to be mandatory and activated in all jurisdictions across the country by the end of FY2013. There is a slight decrease in funding for detention beds, but that does not suggest an easing up of enforcement activity. Rather, there is additional funding for the more cost-effective Alternatives to Detention (ATD) program for low-risk individuals.

Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS)
FY2013 request: $3.005 billion (a 2.4% decrease from FY2012 enacted)

$0 appropriations requested to cover asylum and refugee processing costs, meaning these costs must be covered by fees paid by applicants for immigration benefits.
Proposes a 9% increase for E-Verify, including $8.6 million for expansion of the E-Verify Self Check.
Requests $11 million for immigrant integration and citizenship, which will be taken from the Examinations Fee Account.

As usual, USCIS’s budget is dwarfed by that of ICE and CBP combined. Even within USCIS’s budget, there are proposed increases for enforcement in the form of an expanded E-Verify program. Unfortunately, USCIS will remain a mostly fee-dependent agency, as there is no request for additional appropriations from Congress to cover the costs of processing refugees and asylees or any other costs.

The controversial program of Secured Communities will continued to be carried out and enforced in all jurisdictions across the country soon. Meanwhile, the Office of Civil Rights and Civil Liberties—the office that investigates complaints and abuses within Secure Communities and other enforcement program—got a 4% budget cut.

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