Abolish ICE? Actually, Biden's Budget Proposal Hikes Spending on America's Immigration Cops.

More spending on more intrusive government is the Biden agenda all the way down.


At a political rally in Georgia two months ago, President Joe Biden was interrupted by a small but loud group of protestors demanding that he "abolish" Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE), the branch of the Department of Homeland Security that's responsible for capturing and deporting undocumented immigrants.

"I agree with you," Biden offered, after halting his speech to engage briefly with the chanting activists. "I'm working on it, man. Give me another five days."

Roughly five weeks later, Biden's first presidential budget proposal has arrived. It shows that the president isn't planning to abolish ICE at all. In fact, he's asking Congress to spend even more on America's immigration cops—a development that sits uncomfortably alongside political rhetoric on both sides of the aisle.

Biden's budget proposal calls for appropriating more than $7.99 billion in discretionary funding to ICE during the fiscal year that begins on October 1. That's about $18 million higher than what Congress authorized for the current fiscal year. If implemented as proposed, Biden's budget would see the federal government spend more on ICE than it did during three of former President Donald Trump's four years in office—and it represents a 23 percent increase over the final budget overseen by former President Barack Obama.

In short, Biden's budget locks in the Trump-era surge in funding for ICE—a surge that caused significant outrage on the political left, as the protesters at Biden's April speech evince.

The requested budget increase would allow ICE to hire about 100 more attorneys and dozens of additional staffers in various departments. "These enhancements will address the backlog of immigration cases," according to the agency's budget proposal.

While that shift in priorities is in some ways commendable, it comes with only a small reduction in ICE's "Enforcement and Removal Operations," which consumes the largest share of the agency's budget. That section of the budget would receive $4.07 billion next year in Biden's budget, down from $4.12 billion this year. Among lots of other things, the budget document shows that ICE is seeking enough funding to be able to detain up to 30,000 people daily—a small decrease from the 31,500 in the current year's budget—and requesting $2 million "for awards of compensation to informants" who narc on undocumented immigrants.

The budget proposal is the latest signal that Biden is disappointing progressives who hoped he would take more radical action to undo Trump's immigration enforcement legacy. But it also reveals just how disconnected from reality some conservative talking points about Biden's immigration policy have become.

The Center for Immigration Studies, which has long favored restricting both legal and illegal immigration, has declared that the Biden administration "is abolishing ICE without abolishing ICE" due to some policy changes implemented in the first weeks after Biden took office. After Biden's budget proposal was unveiled on Friday, the Republican National Committee accused the president of "functionally abolishing ICE."

It should go without saying, but that description is hardly an accurate way to describe a government agency given the money and resources to lock up 30,000 human beings.

As always happens, the red/blue political fights conceal the reality of the situation. In the context of the rest of Biden's $6 trillion budget proposal, however, the higher funding for ICE is part of an overall trend toward not only a more expensive government, but also a government that can stick its nose (and its guns) into more of your business. That means beefing up the IRS' ability to snoop on bank accounts under the guise of cracking down on tax cheats—and, ultimately, in pursuit of additional tax revenue to spend. It means an immigration budget proposal that maintains Trump-era levels of enforcement "against employers that hire labor illegally"—people who have done nothing wrong besides offering to pay for work that someone else is willing to do.

Of course, Biden is taking a different approach than Trump did in some important ways. The new administration has nixed Trump's "zero tolerance" policy at the U.S.-Mexico border that separated parents and children who crossed the border illegally without exception, but that change was mostly a symbolic one since the policy was effectively nullified by the end of the Trump administration, as Reason's Billy Binion reported in March. And, as Reason's Fiona Harrigan noted yesterday, the Biden administration is hoping to staunch the flow of migrants by spending $4 billion to improve conditions in the so-called "Northern Triangle" countries of El Salvador, Guatemala, and Honduras.

The budget proposal for ICE does not tell the whole story of a White House's immigration policy, but it does provide a useful window into certain priorities. Rather than making a clean break with Trump's punitive approach toward undocumented immigrants, Biden's first budget plan aims to mostly maintain that status quo.

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  1. Moar kids in cages.

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  2. “I agree with you,” Biden offered, after halting his speech to engage briefly with the chanting activists. “I’m working on it, man. Give me another five days.”

    Trumpian lies, although to be fair he forgot all about this exchange five minutes later.

    1. “…to be fair he forgot all about this exchange five minutes later.”

      Being rather generous, aren’t we?

  3. Don’t worry. Libertarians ought to know that spending more government money doesn’t make the recipients thereof more effective or efficient. The regime is only giving more money to government employees. ICE will be better paid for doing less work enforcing immigration law.

    It’s a win/win for libertarians and government employees.

    1. With all that additional spending on everything else as well, ICE is actually going to be a smaller portion of the Federal budget than under Trump. See, it’s actually a spending reduction!

      DC needs to be burned to the ground and the remains put through a woodchipper.

      1. I’ve long advocated for disposing of the progs. Then things can be fixed.

      2. And let’s not forget inflation. It’ll no doubt be far less in today’s dollars.

  4. If you believed Biden, knowing his history, then that is a “you” problem.

    1. seriously. this ^ dude.

  5. So Parasite Joe isn’t as dumb as he looks. Good to know.

  6. You could spend ten times what Trump spent on the e.g. the National Guard, but if you have no intention of deploying them the way a ‘General Patton’ would deploy and use them, or provide them with logistical support (finish the wall), this article is beyond ridiculous.

    1. deploying them the way a ‘General Patton’ would deploy and use them

      In your view, what does deploying the National Guard, in a way that ‘General Patton’ would, mean specifically?

      1. I guess jeffster doesn’t know that then Lieutenant Patton on orders from Pershing went into Mexico and hunted down Pancho Villa.

        See jeff that is how things used to be done when criminal broke the law and order had to be maintained.

        1. So, you want the US military to invade sovereign countries in order to establish “border security”? Is that what you want?

          1. You’re asking a question based upon principle, and that’s not fair! What matters is what Trump would do. Actually, that’s not even true because if Biden does what Trump would do then it’s still bad because Biden did it. Whatever Biden does will be bad because Democrats are evil.

            1. Trying to divert with a red herring when you’ve been called out on your total historical ignorance is not asking a question based on principle, cytotoxic.

            2. Looks like sarc didn’t know about Patton and Pancho Villa either.

              Oh, and chemleft, maybe read up on who was invading who and first before you try and reply again.

            3. Drunk again huh? Jesse is right, you are completely broken.

  7. Having changed their Job Description from Immigration Control to Welcoming Committee, an increase in their budget seems unlikely to result in secure borders.

    1. We can’t let ourselves be detracted from what’s important. We each have the responsibility of cultivating and maintaining the proper level of anxiety. Set a daily reminder to fear for your safety.

  8. The big question is how will OBL say about this?

    Dollars to donuts he’s working on it right now.

    1. Gotta admit, I immediately thought of him when I saw the headline. I’m surprised he wasn’t one of the first two or three comments.

      This article must have posted on his lunch break.

  9. And let’s not forget that now that VP Harris has solved the immigration problem, she’s now been assigned by Biden to ensuring fair elections by touting HR1

  10. are you whining because your expectations are unrecognized or you are literally surprised?

  11. “abolish ICE” is almost as dumb as defund the police. The right circumstances come along, and the left will abandon “abolish ICE” with Trudeauian haste.

    1. “sir, there are a million white guys @Nogales trying to cross.”

    2. When all the capitalists from South and Central America start fleeing the wave of Communists being voted into power now they’ll vote to have the height of the wall doubled.

      If the Cuban Revolution had happened under Biden’s watch, they would have sent everyone who came to Florida back to face their rightful punishment. The Squad might argue we should send them back today.

  12. Biden spent 50 years in congress.

    Voters who supported him shocked at his policies.

  13. Shouldn’t Trumpsters be happy that Biden is continuing Trump’s policies?

    1. Not when he’s taking the Trump policies that were the least libertarian and making them worse. Why would that be good?

      Tariffs, immigration, foreign entanglements, spending . . . it’s almost as though Biden is no better than Trump on many issues, and on the others, FAR worse.

      1. According to the Trump supporters, real libertarians support tariffs and hate immigration because Trump was the most libertarians president ever.

        If these people have any principles they should be cheering Biden for hiking tariffs and cracking down on immigration.

        1. Not cracking down on immigration you mean (budgets mean nothing they can move money around and not spend it on actual enforcement)

          Not changing tariffs today, doesn’t mean won’t tomorrow.

          Fuck off screetch.

          1. If you’re a person of principle then you should praise Biden for continuing Trump’s policies.

            But you won’t. No Trump supporter will.

            At least you’re shameless about it.

            1. Now, if Biden put children in cages, while at the same time waving a giant flag and issuing mean tweets, THEN, he’d be a real Murican Patriot!

              1. Most libertrn prezdint evah!

                1. Lol. It’s great that you “two” were able to correctly ascertain that this issue is all about Trump and criticize Trump accordingly while not issuing a single peep about Biden’s actual policy while pointing out how hypocritical Trump supporters are for not supporting Biden on an issue that you spent 4 years histrionically screeching about.

                  1. So pointing out that a principled Trump supporter should be cheering Biden for continuing Trump’s policies is bad because what we should be doing is criticizing Biden because Democrats are the devil?

                    1. Lol, no you weren’t you drunken retard.
                      You were whining about people criticizing your beloved Uncle Joe’s hypocrisy.

                    2. Drunk piece of shit

            2. You mean like when you spent the last 4 years praising Trump for ending the war in Afghanistan, striking a dozen important middle east peace treaties, not starting any new wars or international conflicts, reducing taxes, and cutting regulations? Or do you True Libertarians™ not actually support any of those things?

              1. I’ve given him credit where credit is due.

          2. More money to INS means more INS activities. And the primary INS activity is cracking down on immigration, both illegal immigrants and legal refugees, plus their children.

            You assume Biden will be micromanaging indivdual INS agents? No fucking way. More money to INS means the INS will keep doing what they are doing, just more of it.

            You Trumpistas should be cheering Biden on. He is after all, serving Obama’s fourth term, after Trump served his third.

            1. The INS hasn’t existed for 20 years you ignorant cunt. I know your Cato talking points on the issue haven’t changed in that amount of time, but you might want to at least shoot for citing the correct 3 letter agency from this fucking century. It should be pretty easy for you since every media outlet you follow and politician you support has been chanting “ABOLISH ICE” as a slogan from January 20, 2017 to January 20, 2021

              It really is a shame though that Biden is going to give more money to the literal Nazis at ICE more money. He should be putting that money towards our massively underfunded, cherished democratic institutions like the FBI and NSA to spy on political rivals, amirite?

              1. The INS hasn’t existed for 20 years you ignorant cunt

                First chemleft and sarc and now Brandybuck. It’s like history began with the current news cycle for these guys. Explains why they’re proggies I guess.

  14. President Joe Biden was interrupted by a small but loud group of protestors demanding that he “abolish” Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE), the branch of the Department of Homeland Security that’s responsible for capturing and deporting undocumented immigrants.

    “I agree with you,” Biden offered, after halting his speech to engage briefly with the chanting activists. “I’m working on it, man. Give me another five days.”

    Doesn’t matter what he actually does, media outlets got their sound byte and that is literally all that matters.

  15. How about a compromise? Admit just enough immigrants and “Dreamers” to citizenship so that the Democrats will be able to take over the key states, then we can start enforcing immigration laws again.

    1. Immigration Reform and Control Act of 1986 Part 2: Electric Boogaloo

  16. “Trump-era levels of enforcement ‘against employers that hire labor illegally’—people who have done nothing wrong besides offering to pay for work that someone else is willing to do.”

    You mean employers who aren’t willing to pay a competitive wage and game the free market by hiring people likely to quietly accept the sort of exploitation that a free citizen would never abide.

    1. Be careful you’re starting to sound like a leftist

      1. Yeah, from an absolute perspective.

        Problem is, the rest of us have to follow the endless rules and regulations when we hire our labor, the guy who hires under the table is not competing in the same marketplace. Not just on wages, but also on control as he can always threaten to report someone to La Migra if they complain about anything. Illegal labor suffers all kinds of indignity rather than getting caught in the system, sometimes even including getting shorted on wages. It’s tough to complain when you’re afraid of being deported.

        If everyone is playing by the same rules, and you can’t get workers legally, you need to pay more. If your competitor can’t hire illegal labor, he’ll have to pay more, too, so prices rise and so be it. That’s what that labor is valued at. But that all depends on everyone having to comply with the same labor rules and restrictions.

        So, real world here. What are the choices? We all hire illegally under the table or we can’t compete with the companies who do? And if we do that, the moment some government lackey doesn’t like us they just nail us to the wall for labor violations out of spite? That’s no way to support businesses.

        Illegal labor devalues ALL labor. This isn’t about people willing to work, that’s just an emotional argument that completely misses the point. Either follow the laws or, if they’re bad then change the laws. Just selective non-enforcement at the whims of whoever happens to be in office is a bad substitute. Well, bad for everyone except Reason “libertarians” who are willfully blind to the facts.

        1. Illegal labor devalues ALL labor.

          This is so. You end up with a global plantation economy, wages falling to the lowest common denominator. But who cares as long as billionaires get to be trillionaires?

  17. Biden’s Budget Proposal Hikes Spending on EVERYTHING!

  18. Umm, yes he increased the budget. Have you read his executive orders for ICE?

    Let’s see Biden picks anti deportation Sheriff

    Then there is this

    Under Biden’s new rules, deportation officers must seek written authorization from senior-level supervisors to arrest anyone who is not a recent border crosser, a national security threat or an aggravated felon who poses a public safety hazard…

    ICE officials frustrated with the changes describe a workplace environment where officers spend time doing paperwork, idling or working out, more fearful of facing reprimand for making an arrest than not making one.

    One of the priority groups, recent border crossers, are effectively no longer subject to arrest once they reach the U.S. interior. Unaccompanied minors and families are also largely exempt, unless they are convicted of a serious crime.

    Don’t hurt yourself too much Eric looking for information. I know no borders for the world is good for you. Texas, it’s not so good. Why don’t you move to the border?

  19. When Trump wins in 2024, look for the illegals coming in to migrate out. It won’t be just due to his re-election, but also because of the gifts the cartels are leaving the feds.

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