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Saturday, March 2, 2024

With the border deal dead, the money for border security might run out. Here’s what that would mean.

Cities such as Chicago, New York, Denver, Los Angeles and Boston, where the numbers of newly arrived migrants have exploded, were going to get $1.4 billion from the bill to help them cope.

Democratic mayors of those cities had repeatedly pleaded with the Biden administration for more help to house and educate, provide medical care for and find work authorization for the tens of thousands of new migrants who have arrived since summer 2022, some of them shipped north by Republican governors. The aid was part of the bipartisan border security deal negotiated by Republicans and Democrats over many months but killed by Republicans last week.

The federal government has doled out $370 million to the cities, but they have not received federal support since last fall, and without more congressional funding, a DHS spokesperson said, “cities and communities along the border and in the interior of the United States where migrants are awaiting their immigration court proceedings would suffer.” Congress’ failure to pass the supplemental “will put at risk DHS’s current removal operations, put further strain on our already overtaxed workforce, and make it harder to catch fentanyl at ports of entry. Without adequate funding for CBP, ICE, and USCIS, the Department will have to reprogram or pull resources from other efforts,” a DHS spokesperson said. 

ICE is Immigration and Customs Enforcement, and USCIS is U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services.

Shortfalls for ICE and CBP

At the southwest border, meanwhile, the federal agencies will not have enough money for needed new hires, and there will be fewer arrests, detentions and deportations of immigrants. 

The bill would have included $7.6 billion for ICE and it would have dramatically increased detention space for migrants. 

Now not only will ICE be unable to increase detention space, but it will also have to carry out fewer deportations than it has in the past year, when deportations nearly doubled from the previous year to 142,580. It may be unable to deport many migrants who already have final orders of deportation.

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