The budget request that President Trump is releasing Monday will propose more than $23 billion for border security and immigration enforcement – including funds for a wall along the U.S.-Mexico border, the White House said Sunday.
The request on border security comes as the Senate is about to start a free-wheeling debate on immigration.
Congress has until March 5 to provide a legislative solution that helps people who came to the U.S. illegally when they were children and have benefited from the Obama administration’s Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program.
Trump has offered a framework that would provide a path to citizenship for about 1.8 million immigrants, but also called for border-wall funding and changes to family-based immigration and the diversity visa lottery. The framework is backed by some Republicans but has been widely criticized by Democrats.
Congress last week approved legislation to increase budget caps by about $300 billion for fiscal 2018 and 2019. In light of this budget deal, the administration is proposing an investment of $18 billion in that time period to construct a border wall, the White House said.
The White House also said it will request $782 million to hire 2,750 additional law-enforcement officers and agents at the U.S. Customs and Border Protection and Immigration and Customs Enforcement. The administration is also requesting $2.7 billion to pay for ICE to have an average of 52,000 illegal aliens a day in detention – the highest-ever level for the agency.
The deal to raise spending caps is expected to contribute to higher deficits. While Trump’s budget is going to account for the higher caps, the White House said its proposal will also call for spending reforms that would cut deficits by $3 trillion over a decade and also reduce the debt as a percentage of gross domestic product.
“Just because this deal was signed, does not mean the future is written in stone,” Office of Management and Budget Director Mick Mulvaney said on “Fox News Sunday.” “We do have a chance still to change this [debt] trajectory.”
He added that the budget will still include some proposed spending cuts at the State Department and the Environmental Protection Agency, which the administration also proposed cuts to last year.
The White House plans to further its efforts to cut regulatory burdens in its budget – including as part of its infrastructure plan. The plan is designed to spur $1.5 trillion in infrastructure spending but only includes $200 in federal funding.
The White House also said that it’s requesting $85.5 billion for veterans’ medical care and other programs designed to improve veterans’ quality of life. And the administration is asking for almost $17-billion for fiscal 2019 to fight the opioid crisis.
Credit: The Hill