FY 2024 Budget Package Reflects Mixed Results on Immigration Policy

FY 2024 Budget Package Reflects Mixed Results on Immigration Policy

President Biden signed off on the comprehensive 6-bill “minibus” funding package for the fiscal year (FY) 2024 on March 23, bringing to a close a prolonged period of negotiations characterized by attempts to inject stringent border and immigration policy reforms into the budget. While the final agreement avoids incorporating these policy changes, it allocates substantial increases in enforcement and detention funding, alongside modest but noteworthy provisions addressing legal immigration policy, backlog reduction, and transparency issues.

A significant portion of the funding is directed towards enhancing detention capacities and border enforcement measures. The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) had been operating under previous fiscal year funding levels amid heightened migrant arrivals at the border and mounting asylum case backlogs. In response, the approved budget raises DHS’s allocation by nearly $4 billion, enabling the hiring of over 2,000 additional border agents and providing resources for the construction of new holding facilities and transportation arrangements for migrants.

Furthermore, Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) receives a substantial budgetary boost, facilitating an expansion of detention capabilities to accommodate 41,500 individuals, a notable increase from current levels. Additionally, there’s a considerable augmentation in funding for removal operations, potentially leading to an escalation in deportation rates. Despite these allocations, the Alternatives to Detention (ATD) program, aimed at monitoring migrants in removal proceedings outside of detention facilities, sees a modest increase, alongside continued support for the Case Management Pilot Program (CMPP), albeit at reduced levels.

On the legal immigration front, the funding package includes provisions to address backlog reduction and enhance transparency. For instance, additional Special Immigrant Visas (SIV) are allocated to resettle Afghan nationals who aided U.S. military efforts, albeit with a directive to draft a plan for winding down the SIV program. Visa relief measures are extended, and requirements for enhanced transparency regarding pending applications and parole decisions are introduced, signaling an effort toward improved accountability and oversight.

Despite these strides, the funding package falls short of fully addressing the resource needs of the legal immigration system, particularly in processing and adjudication capacities. While the FY 2024 appropriations mark the conclusion of a contentious cycle, they underscore the ongoing need for balanced and comprehensive immigration policies as Congress shifts its focus toward FY 2025 planning.


Source: immigration impact