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Biden’s Border Chief Begs For Money


It’s it funny how quickly things change?

Over the last three years, Department of Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas has consistently defended proposed budget cuts to Immigration and Customs Enforcement and Customs and Border Protection on Capitol Hill, only to face rejection from Congress each time. Recently, Mayorkas appeared before Congress seeking $14 billion in emergency funds for the southern border.

Mayorkas emphasized the necessity of these funds for personnel, technology, facilities, and additional support resources crucial for advancing their mission. This appeal raised eyebrows, given Mayorkas’ past support for spending cuts, leading some, such as former immigration judge Matt O’Brien, to question whether the Department of Homeland Security is unclear about its mission or if Mayorkas is being untruthful.

O’Brien pointed out that the DHS boasts one of the largest budgets in the federal government, growing from $60.9 billion in 2015 to $101.6 billion in 2023. President Joe Biden has requested $103.2 billion for the agency in 2024. However, Mayorkas, who sought budget cuts in previous years, is now requesting emergency funds.


The additional funding is intended for various purposes, including assisting Health and Human Services in caring for migrant children and aiding the Federal Emergency Management Agency in compensating jurisdictions dealing with an influx of newcomers. U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services would also receive funds to expedite asylum processing and issue work permits to apprehended illegal immigrants released into the United States.

Mayorkas’ history of proposing cuts to Customs and Border Protection (CBP) and Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) budgets raised skepticism. Despite Mayorkas proposing a $2.9 billion cut in his first budget, Congress approved $18.5 billion for CBP. In subsequent years, Mayorkas sought further cuts, but Congress increased funding instead.

Analysts, including Adam Isaacson, suggest that the substantial emergency funds request, nearly 15% of DHS’ regular budget, indicates a failure to anticipate basic needs. Isaacson notes a shift in the composition of those arriving at the southern border, with 40% being children and families from around the world. He criticizes the administration for not allocating sufficient political will or resources to reform CBP and ICE despite reluctance to simply throw money at the agencies in their current form.