Illegal immigration is a national sore spot. The US is running out of resources and space to house those crossing the border by other than legal means, but progressives – and President Joe Biden – have an answer: free housing for migrants. To help mitigate the burden, the Biden administration’s latest plan would allocate nearly $1 billion to provide free housing and services to those who chose to come into America illegally.
Free Housing, Little Supervision for Migrants
The White House sent a letter to House Speaker Kevin McCarthy (R-CA) regarding critical funding needs for FY 2024. Among other things, the 65-page document requested more money for migrants and continued allocations for Ukraine. The letter states:
“This request would authorize the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement to use appropriated funding to allow for refugees, asylum seekers, or other migrants to be housed in community-based residential facilities, depart unsupervised during certain hours, and be provided medical care, legal programming, and other services through contracts, grants, or cooperative agreements with non-governmental organizations.”
“The Biden administration isn’t asking Congress for actual border security or enforcement funding but instead seeks to create a taxpayer-funded shelter system rather than true custodial detention,” former senior executive and field office director at Immigrations and Customs Enforcement John Fabbricatore told The Washington Free Beacon. Former Immigration and Customs Enforcement acting director Thomas Homan said it would only encourage migrants to cross the border. He explained:
“This proposal would be extremely expensive and would serve as yet another enticement, another magnet that will bring more families to our borders which will bring more harm to these families at the hands of criminal cartels who have sexually assaulted thousands of women and children. The U.S. homeless population has exploded, and this administration wants to give this type of program to those who broke our laws rather than homeless heroes.”
The housing program is part of a $40.1 billion supplementary package that also includes $4 billion for immigration-related programs and more funding for Ukraine. Here are some of the highlights of the proposal:
$1.4 billion: Customs and Border Protection (CBP). This breaks down to $203 million for border management by CBP, which includes migrant medical care and transportation; $606 million for CBP to reimburse the Department of Defense for border security, $600 million to the Federal Emergency Management Agency for Shelter and Services grants; and $27 million to fight against fentanyl transportation.
$759 million: DHS. Of that amount, $714 million would go toward responding to migrant surges along the southern border, and $45 million would be used to combat drug activities.
$532 million: Department of State. The funds would be used to help “forcibly displaced migrants to settle and rebuild their lives in Brazil, Colombia, Costa Rica, Ecuador, and other host countries.”
$250 million: Department of State to respond to the end of Title 42. Of the funding, $50 million would “support foreign government repatriation operations of individuals deemed ineligible for refugee or other protected statuses;” $50 million “to incentivize sustained cooperation from partner countries hosting Safe Mobility Offices;” and $150 million to “expand migrant integration support to target communities, access to labor pathway mechanisms, and engagement with the private sector and multilateral partners to spur greater investment in integration initiatives.”
$36 million: Department of Justice. This funding would be used to hire more immigration judges in 2024.
In addition, there are requested allocations for technology to help with migrants and drug trafficking:
- $61 million to DHS for biometric technology systems and data services.
- $51 million to DHS to get and operate the Homeland Advanced Recognition Technology (HART) System which is supposed to aid in decreasing processing times.
- $323 million to CBP and DHS to support “non-intrusive inspection technology for use in identifying and interdicting fentanyl and other illicit drugs.”
- $21 million to DHS “for counter-fentanyl research and development,” which “would create automated pipelines to fuse data, expand development of robust analytics to discover and target criminal networks and their activities.”
Wow, that’s a lot of moolah. Republicans argue it’s too much to be spent on people whose first action in the US is to break the law. While it’s good to see money allocated to fighting against fentanyl and other drug trafficking, perhaps tightening the border and enforcing immigration laws would have more effect.
The continued financial support of Ukraine has critics arguing that we need to focus less on helping non-Americans when we are suffering from rising homelessness, crime, and other pressing issues. Take a look at some of the requests to support Ukraine from the letter sent by the White House:
“First, the President has reaffirmed that we will stand with Ukraine as it defends its sovereignty for as long as it takes, a strategy that has successfully united our allies and partners and equipped Ukraine to defend itself against Russian aggression,” the letter states. China is listed as a reason for these funds to be approved. “[I]t is essential that we offer a credible alternative to the People’s Republic of China’s (PRC) coercive and unsustainable lending and infrastructure projects for developing countries around the world,” the letter explained.
$3.3 billion to expand development and infrastructure to countries “hard hit by the spillovers of Russia’s war.”
$3.3 billion to the Department of State. This would provide three additional months of direct budget support to Ukraine as well as $50 million for global food security programming.
$1 billion to the Foreign Military Financing (FMF) Program for Ukraine and countries affected by the war. This would “bolster capabilities such as air defense, artillery, armor, anti-armor, and maritime security, among others.”
$94 million to the Nonproliferation, Anti-terrorism, Demining, and Related Programs (NADR) for sustaining urgent demining activities in Ukraine by providing training and equipment.
$779 million to the Assistance for Europe, Eurasia, and Central Asia for recovery and economic assistance for Ukraine which includes repairs for winter survival and recovery of the country’s grid, among others.
$1.3 billion to the Agency for International Development for the International Disaster Assistance to provide emergency food assistance for Ukraine and other global needs.
$25 million to the US Agency for International Development’s (USAID) Transitions Initiatives to support contingency programs in Ukraine, Moldova, “and other countries impacted by Russia’s invasion.”
$100 million to DHHS’s Refuge and Entrant Assistance for resettlement for Ukrainians including “cash and medical assistance, case management, English language education, job training, and other support services.”
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