On March 11, the Administration submitted its 2020 spending proposal, in which funding for critical programming to protect children was an afterthought in a fiscal love note to border enforcement.
The budget proposal, which allocates upwards of ten billion dollars for border wall construction and immigration detention, offers inadequate funding for practical programs and core infrastructure.
Below is a breakdown of what the budget contains as it relates to immigration.
- Unaccompanied Children Contingency Fund: The budget proposal includes $480 million for the care of unaccompanied children. We don’t know yet how exactly the Administration intends to use this fund, but we welcome any investment in additional services for this vulnerable population.
- Alternatives for Detention: The budget includes a small amount of additional funding for Alternatives to Detention. The spending proposal allocates funding to monitor an additional 120,000 immigrants, but it is not clear who will implement these programs.
- Billions for the Wall: The centerpiece of this spending bill was unequivocally the $8.6 billion the President allocated for the wall. This massive investment in steel, concrete, and labor is based on assertions that a wall will solve our immigration problems; but a physical structure is unlikely to address the complexities and shortcomings of our current immigration system.
- Expanding Immigration Detention: The administration proposed the allocation of $2.7 billion for the detention industry. This funding would form part of the newly proposed Border Security and Immigration Enforcement Fund for the purpose of expanding immigration detention, including family detention.
- Attacks on Family-based Immigration: This proposal seeks to end family-based immigration and chain migration. It would effectively cancel the visa lottery program and replace existing criteria with a merit-based immigration system.
- Gutting International Humanitarian Aid: The International Disaster Assistance (IDA) and Emergency Migration and Refugee Assistance (ERMA) would be consolidated under a new account, International Humanitarian Assistance (IHA) and reorganized under USAID. That is contrary to the best interests of the U.S. as it adds additional and unnecessary layers to the role that refugee admissions have historically played in U.S. foreign policy.