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Trump Administration Budget Aims to Implement Mass Deportation

As explained by the American Immigration Association (AILA),* the Trump Administration’s newly released Fiscal Year 2018 budget request would fund massive increases in immigration enforcement and border security.  The Administration requests billions of dollars to grow an enormous deportation force, while demanding deep cuts in domestic programs vital to working class Americans. The Administration’s budget would fund a 66% increase in the nation’s already sprawling immigration detention system and add 1,500 enforcement agents.

The proposed budget is not based on any demonstrated border security or public safety needs. In fact, border apprehensions have declined steadily during the past two decades. Moreover, the Administration is arresting and detaining undocumented people with no criminal convictions (increased by 157% during the first 100 days), families, and Dreamers.

The Administration and DHS budget documents released today include the following provisions:

Increased Enforcement and Detention

  • The Trump Administration budget is seeking funding to maintain an average daily detained population of 51,379, an increase of 66% over prior Congressional authorizations of 34,000 detention beds.
  • There is currently no need for any additional detention capacity. In order to maintain an average daily population above 51,000, ICE will have to arrest, detain and deport tens of thousands of long-time residents who pose no threat to public safety.
  • DHS disclosed in its budget documents that ICE will no longer expect the overwhelming majority of its detention facilities to comply with any set of ICE detention standards under an alarming rationale: that it is has been difficult for some field offices to find new detention facilities as so many “are unable or unwilling to meet ICE’s detention standards.”
  • The Trump Administration budget would hire an additional 1,000 immigration enforcement agents for his deportation force.
  • Through the budget process, the Administration is attempting to rewrite federal law to prohibit state and local law enforcement agencies from restricting compliance with constitutionally-suspect ICE detainer requests. States and localities would almost certainly challenge this provision as unconstitutional.
  • The proposal includes almost $23 million for the E-Verify program, which includes money to work towards mandatory, nationwide use of the program.

Border Wall and Additional Border Patrol Agents

  • The Administration budget proposes spending $1.6 billion on a wasteful and unnecessary border wall that confers no operational advantages.
  • The Administration budget also proposes the hiring of another 500 unneeded and inadequately screened and trained Border Patrol officers.
  • The immense budgets allocated to CBP under the prior two Administrations have already funded the deployment of costly and extensive border security resources, incorporating a layered system of physical barriers and border security technologies supplemented by a huge force of Border Patrol and other CBP personnel.

The DOJ Budget

  • The Administration’s budget seeks the hiring of 70 new U.S. Attorneys at the Department of Justice to prosecute people for immigration-related offenses. Immigration prosecutions already comprise the majority of all federal prosecutions. This is a disproportionate allocation of criminal justice resources in comparison to the far more serious federal felonies for which the Department of Justice is responsible.

Refugee and Humanitarian Assistance

The proposed budget would slash funding for international refugee and humanitarian assistance, including a complete elimination of the Emergency Refugee and Migration Fund which is critical for the U.S. government’s capacity to respond to urgent crises. This plan will reduce the number of refugees resettled in the United States to 50,000 in 2018, far short of what is needed.


  • The American Immigration Lawyers Association is the national association of immigration lawyers established to promote justice, advocate for fair and reasonable immigration law and policy, advance the quality of immigration and nationality law and practice, and enhance the professional development of its members.


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