Home » ICE Faces $700M Shortfall: Thousands of Migrants May Be Released

ICE Faces $700M Shortfall: Thousands of Migrants May Be Released

by Richard A Reagan

The U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) is reportedly considering the mass release of thousands of migrants and a drastic reduction in detention capacity due to a staggering $700 million budget shortfall. [Source]

According to an in-depth report by the Washington Post, ICE officials are deliberating cost-cutting measures that include not only releasing migrants from U.S. custody but also slashing the number of detention beds from 38,000 to a mere 22,000.

These discussions follow the Senate’s recent rejection of a national security package, which, among other provisions, would have allocated over $7 billion in supplemental funding for ICE.

The decision faced staunch opposition from Republican border hawks, who criticized the bill for facilitating expedited processing of asylum claims, allocating taxpayer funds for legal counsel to migrants, and providing financial aid to NGOs involved in resettling migrants within the U.S. 

They also opposed a provision granting the president emergency powers to close the border under certain conditions, reminiscent of Title 42 authority.

Notably, a majority of ICE detainees are migrants apprehended along the U.S.-Mexico border, rather than individuals arrested within the U.S. for criminal activities.

ICE statistics reveal a significant drop in arrests leading to deportations under President Biden’s administration, with figures dwindling to approximately 35,000 per year from about 80,000 during former President Donald Trump’s tenure.

“This is absurd, on a number of levels,” remarked House Homeland Security Committee Chairman Mark Green (R-TN) in response to the proposed releases.

Green’s statement reflects a widespread sentiment among Republican lawmakers, who view the proposal as a direct violation of federal immigration laws and a dereliction of duty by Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas.

Mayorkas’ approach to budgeting and detention policies has been a point of contention, culminating in his impeachment by House Republicans on charges of failing to enforce immigration laws and allegedly misleading Congress about border security.

Adding to the controversy, new revelations indicate the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) has admitted in internal emails to failing to track illegal immigrants once released into the U.S. interior. [Source]

President Biden’s recent decision to impose an 18-month deportation pause for Palestinians living in the U.S. adds another layer to the ongoing debate over immigration and border security. 

Citing deteriorating conditions in the Gaza region, the move is intended to provide a temporary safe haven for Palestinian tourists, students, and workers, allowing them legal employment opportunities in the U.S. [Source]

The developments at the border and DHS’s handling of immigration enforcement continue to fuel discussions on the effectiveness and direction of U.S. immigration policy.

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