The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) pulled $271 million from the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA), the Coast Guard, the Transportation Security Agency (TSA) and even Customs and Border Protection (CBP) to fund immigrant facilities (which are operated by Immigration and Customs Enforcement) at the U.S.-Mexico border.
Even with the shuffled funds, DHS still lacks sufficient facilities to detain everyone arriving at the border and requesting asylum or other relief from removal. Therefore, it continues to release more than 200 migrants a day into the U.S. interior.
In addition to $155 million taken from FEMA’s Disaster Relief Fund, $39 million was removed from CBP’s budget, and more than $45 million was siphoned from Coast Guard. TSA took a $24 million hit.
The “reprogrammed” funds will help pay for new immigration hearing facilities and more ICE detention beds and transportation resources.
“ICE has already had to increase the number of detention beds above what Congress funded,” DHS explained in a statement. “Without additional funding … ICE will not be able to support the influx of migrants from [CBP] apprehensions.”
As it is, overwhelmed border agents are releasing illegal aliens at an average rate of 208 a day. Under “catch and release” practices, most illegal entrants disappear and once they are sent on their way into the U.S. never appear for any scheduled immigration hearings.
“House Homeland Security Committee Chairman Bonnie Thompson, D- Mississippi, warned that “taking money away from TSA and from FEMA in the middle of hurricane season could have deadly consequences.” However, so could leaving our border unsecured and letting illegal aliens wander unsupervised about the U.S. DHS is the agency charged with responding to both situations, so it is proverbially damned either way.
Congress’s failure to properly fund border operations has created the worst of both worlds in which federal agency budgets (including CBP’s) are cannibalized while illegal aliens are set loose to roam the country.
So, add the $271 million in diverted funds to the ever-mounting cost illegal immigration imposes on this country. In 2017, FAIR estimated the tab at $134.9 billion a year. That number (more than double what this country spends on defense research and development) is growing by the day, and America is no safer for it.