President Trump’s 2019 budget request captures all the hallmarks of his efforts to crack down on illegal immigration: an expanded border wall to stop undocumented immigrants, more immigration agents to arrest them, and more immigration judges to deport them.
Most other federal agencies would see their funding cut in the 2019 budget, some by as much as 26%, but the Department of Homeland Security would receive $47.5 billion, a 7.8% increase from 2017 spending levels.
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Trump wrote that the increase reflects his administration’s “serious and ongoing commitment” to secure the border and use increased enforcement to “make our immigration system work for Americans.”
But critics of his immigration approach say Trump’s budget will only make life more difficult for undocumented immigrants who don’t have a criminal record but may still end up getting deported.
Peter Boogaard, a former Obama administration official who is now a spokesman for FWD.us, an advocacy group created by technology leaders, said the budget’s focus on deportations should put even more pressure on Congress to pass an immigration bill this week that protects DREAMers, undocumented immigrants brought to the country as children.
Trump budget cuts domestic programs, favors military and wall
“DREAMers are teachers, nurses and engineers, and they are doing their jobs every day in the face of this urgent crisis,” Boogaard said. “It is time for Congress to step up and do theirs.”
Trump budget proposal still seeking wall funding
About $1.6 billion in Trump’s budget would add 65 miles of walls along the southern border with Mexico. That’s part of Trump’s request of $18 billion over 10 years to build additional walls and fences along the border. The 2019 money would be used entirely in Texas’ Rio Grande Valley, the easternmost border sector that has seen the highest number of undocumented immigrants crossing into the U.S.
It’s not just about budget cuts in the proposal released by the EPA Monday, although there are plenty of those. The budget proposal, which is accompanied by a four-year EPA strategic vision document, dovetails with the administration’s themes of deregulation and infrastructure development.
The budget would also provide 22% increases in funding for Customs and Border Protection (CBP), the agency responsible for patrolling the southern border and all ports of entry, and Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE), the agency responsible for immigration enforcement in the rest of the country.
The budget proposal, at $6.1 billion, is slightly more giving than Trump’s fiscal 2018 budget request of $5.6 billion, but not by much. The proposals both have sizable 25 percent and 31 percent spending cuts to the EPA, respectively, compared to Obama-era fiscal 2017 spending levels.
Trump’s budget proposes historic increases for military, immigration enforcement, deep cuts to other agencies
That increase would fund 750 new agents for CBP, a mixture of customs agents who work at seaports, airports, and land ports, and Border Patrol officers who monitor all the border regions in between. The number of undocumented immigrants crossing into the U.S. reached historic lows in the months immediately following Trump’s inauguration, but they increased for eight straight months are are back in line with illegal immigration patterns of the past decade.
The new money would also allow ICE to hire 2,000 new agents to help arrest more undocumented immigrants living in the interior of the U.S. That agency has ramped up immigration arrests by about 30% in Trump’s first year in office, in part by arresting more undocumented immigrants who don’t have a criminal record.
While arrests of undocumented immigrants have increased under Trump, deportations have dropped, partly due to a growing backlog of 650,000 deportation cases that are swamping the nation’s immigration judges. Trump’s budget tries to address that problem by providing $40 million to hire 75 new immigration judge teams, and another $40 million to hire 338 new federal attorneys to prosecute those cases.
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And then there’s the question of housing them. ICE has the capacity to house about 51,000 immigrants a day in federal detention centers and local jails that house immigrants on behalf of ICE. The 2019 budget adds about 800 new beds in immigration facilities, but does not make clear whether the administration will follow through on attempts to build new immigration prisons.
In October, ICE issued a proposal to identify locations to build new immigration prisons in Chicago, Detroit, St. Paul, and Salt Lake City. But it was unclear whether any of the money requested in the 2019 budget could be used to build those prisons.
Some of the specific changes would include amending a Clean Air Act section “to eliminate the requirement for EPA to review and publicly comment on other agencies’ Environmental Impact Statements” to expedite reviews.
WASHINGTON (Reuters) – President Donald Trump proposed a budget on Monday that calls for cuts in domestic programs and seeks a sharp increase in military spending and funding for a wall on the Mexican border.
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Presidential budgets are rarely enacted by the U.S. Congress, which controls federal purse strings, but they allow the White House to lay out its priorities for the year.
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In a bid to show conservatives that the administration is embracing some fiscal discipline, the plan calls for deep cuts in non-military spending that would lower the federal budget deficit by more than $3 trillion over 10 years.
But those cuts fly in the face of a two-year budget deal passed last week by Congress that raised spending limits on both military and domestic programs by $300 billion.
That agreement makes the president’s budget request even less relevant than it would be normally because Congress has already locked in its own spending priorities.
The Trump administration says, however, that Congress need not spend all of the money called for by the deal, particularly with regard to domestic spending.
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The budget plan calls for spending $57 billion less in fiscal year 2019 than the bipartisan agreement allows. If ever brought into force, the cuts could slash programs for the poor that provide housing and healthcare.
The proposal also calls for overhauling Medicare and Medicaid, two government-funded healthcare programs that are widely popular. Trump vowed on the campaign trail to leave them untouched, but the budget plan argues they can be made more efficient without harming recipients.
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The proposed cuts drew a rebuke from the top Democrat on the House of Representatives Budget Committee, John Yarmuth.
”These cuts to critical federal investments are so extreme they can only reflect a disdain for working families and a total lack of vision for a stronger society,” he said in a statement.
U.S. Government Publishing Office employees BethAnn Telford, left, and Bernie Morrison unpack new copies of President Donald Trump’s Budget for the U.S. Government for the Fiscal Year 2019 at the U.S. Government Publishing Office in Washington, U.S., February 12, 2018. REUTERS/Leah MillisThe budget forecasts annual gross domestic product growth of at least 3 percent over the next three years, an aggressive target that is crucial to help cover the cost of the $1.5 trillion tax cuts passed by the Republican-controlled Congress in December.
Democrats say proposed budget would cut more infrastructure spending than it adds
Still, given the swelling of the federal debt in the wake of the tax bill and the two-year budget agreement, Trump’s proposal notably abandons the objective of eliminating the federal budget deficit after 10 years, a longstanding goal of fiscal conservatives.
Trump’s $4.4 trillion budget proposal provides for $716 billion in spending on military programs and for maintaining the U.S. nuclear arsenal,
Slideshow (5 Images)It includes $200 billion for rebuilding the nation’s infrastructure, and outlays $23 billion for border security — most of it for the building of a wall on the border with Mexico to stop illegal immigration.
The wall is a key item for Trump’s political base of supporters but is opposed by Democrats. The issue has become a sticking point in talks to keep alive a federal program to spare from deportation so-called “Dreamers”– children brought to the country by illegal immigrant parents.
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Also on border security, Trump’s budget calls for $571 million in additional funding to hire 2,000 more Immigration and Customs Enforcement officers and agents.
It also requests funding for more judges and attorneys to handle cases of illegal immigration.
In keeping with another Trump campaign promise, the budget provides for $200 billion in federal funds intended to spur $1.5 trillion in infrastructure investments with state, local and private partners over the next 10 years — an ambitious program that will have to be approved by Congress.
The budget also seeks some $13 billion in new funding over the next two years to combat the opioid epidemic.
The proposal increases U.S. contributions to the United Nations, an organization that Trump has repeatedly criticized, by 4.5 percent. The budget explains the increase as supporting American interests, including “drug control, crime and terrorism prevention, and trade promotion.”
Reporting by Ginger Gibson and James Oliphant; Additional reporting by David Morgan and Katanga Johnson; Editing by Peter Cooney and Alistair Bell
Trump says ‘up to’ Congress to act on plan to rebuild roads
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