Report: Homeland Security Might Need $2B to Cover Migrant Surge at US-Mexico Border The Mexico side of the U.S.-Mexico border. (Getty Iamges)
By Jay Clemons | Friday, 20 May 2022 02:14 PM
Senior Department of Homeland Security officials fear they won't have enough funding and resources to cover the expected migrant surge at the United States-Mexico border, if the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) lifts Title 42 on Monday, according to an NBC News report.
The record-breaking number of unlawful crossings at the southern border has reportedly taxed the DHS to the point of exhaustion, as it tries to maximize the $1.4 billion appropriation from Congress for handling border encounters.
And more problems could occur next week, if the repeal of Title 42, as expected, brings even greater numbers of migrants to the U.S.-Mexico border.
As such, DHS officials believe that Congress must quickly pass a supplemental bill on the agency's behalf.
"If the Department does not receive a supplemental, we legally cannot reprogram/transfer enough funding to cover all the requirements," according to a DHS planning memo shown to NBC News.
DHS agencies reportedly estimate that $1.2 billion in additional funds are needed to cover the increased number of border crossings per day, as it approaches 10,000 per day, according to an agency document.
The extra costs, relative to more migrant crossings: $1.6 billion for 14,000 crossings a day and $2 billion for 18,000 per day. In the present, roughly 7,400 migrants are encountered at the border per day, the highest number since records began being kept in 2000.
The additional funding would allow for more space to hold migrants for processing and increase the transportation of migrants.
It would also help expand the "alternatives to detention" program, where migrants either wear an ankle monitor or check in by phone with an officer while waiting for a court-hearing date, according to documents.
Three DHS officials told NBC News that White House officials are aware of the agency's urgent request for more funds.
What's more, the Immigrants and Customs Enforcement Agency (ICE) predicts it will need to "increase the number of deportation flights as well as flights and buses from the border to cities in the interior of the U.S.," where migrants will go to have their cases for asylum heard by judges, according to the planning memo.
In a statement, the White House Office of Management and Budget said, "We are working closely with the Department of Homeland Security to ensure it has the resources it needs to successfully manage the border, including by maximizing the additional $1.4 billion we secured for DHS through the fiscal year 2022 government funding bill, reprogramming existing funds, or, should it become necessary, requesting supplemental funds from Congress."
The DHS planning memo also identifies funding allocated for the Biden administration's "family reunification task force," designed to find and reunite migrant parents and children separated by the Trump administration, as a "must" that cannot be sacrificed in order to secure the border.