A Democrat-controlled House panel offered no funding for more Border Patrol agents or border barriers in a 2022 spending bill amid a reported 20-year high number of migrants crossing the U.S.-Mexico border.
More than 929,000 illegal immigrants have been apprehended at the southern border since October, including a near-record 180,000 in May, U.S. Customs and Border Protection statistics show.
But in a bill approved last week by the House Appropriations subcommittee to alot $52.8 billion to fund Homeland Security for fiscal year 2022, there was no funding for additional Border Patrol agents or border barriers, and $2.06 billion allocated during the Trump administration for the construction of a border wall was rescinded.
The package also would dedicate $170 million to build new Integrated Migrant Processing Centers, which are aimed at speeding up processing for illegal immigrant families, and $42 million for the Office of Civil Rights and Civil Liberties, which reviews and investigates complaints against Border and Customs agents.
And it would add $10 million for a pilot program providing alternatives to detention for illegal immigrants.
Democrats defend the bill as aiming to reduce backlogs in refugee, asylum, and immigration benefit applications.
"We have included provisions in the bill intended to reduce the over- detention of migrants as they proceed through the immigration adjudication process, if they are not flight risks and pose no threat to public safety or national security," Rep. Lucille Roybal-Allard, D-Calif., chair of the Homeland Security Spending subcommittee, said in statement with the budget breakdown.
Rep. Rosa DeLauro, D-Conn., chair of House Appropriations, added in the statement that the measure spends money on bolstering security at the nation’s ports of entry and protects families and children who enter the U.S. across the southern border.
Senate Democrats are writing their own Homeland spending bill, and it will have to include more GOP input due to the 60-vote Senate threshold for passing legislation, the Washington Examiner reported.
Meanwhile, a recent survey showed voters disapprove of President Joe Biden’s handling of border security.
The Harvard/Harris poll taken for The Hill showed 80% believe illegal immigration is a serious issue and one that needs more attention from Biden or Vice President Kamala Harris, who Biden appointed to handle the crisis.
The poll found 68% believe signals from the White House are encouraging illegal immigration, and 55% believe former President Donald Trump’s border-closing policies should have been left in place.
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