SOUTHERN BORDER -- The Trump administration’s budget proposal for the fiscal year 2018 threatens public safety for border communities and national security for all by putting guns and badges into the hands of more agents at Customs and Border Protection (CBP), an agency notorious for corruption and abuse. This at the expense of critical programs that benefit families across the nation.
CBP is already the largest law enforcement agency in the country with roughly 20,000 Border Patrol agents operating on the southern border alone. With record-low flows of undocumented migration, these agents are apprehending, on average, one person per month per agent. In light of these numbers, the administration’s request for more agents and more money for CBP is not only misguided, it is unjustified. The proposed budget essentially chooses a bigger deportation force over the real needs of taxpayers.
The budget also reduces funding for key oversight and accountability at the Department of Homeland Security (DHS). Despite scathing reports of unchecked sexual assault, excessive use of force, and criminal activity by CBP officials, the administration’s budget proposal decreases funding for the DHS Office of Inspector General, which is charged with exercising oversight over CBP agents, among other agents, and investigating abuse of power and corruption. This jeopardizes public safety and national security
Among other things, the budget request proposes to:
Increase DHS’s deportation budget by close to $5 billion and pour billions into a senseless border wall at a time when nearly every other federal agency is being decimated.
Hire 500 new Border Patrol agents and 1,000 new Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) agents, build 74 miles of new wall and add close to 20,000 detention beds at a time when illegal immigration is at a record low.
Cut funding for the Office of Inspector General (OIG). The OIG is the oversight agency within DHS charged with investigating abuse of power and corruption at CBP and ICE.
In response to the proposed DHS’ budget increase, Christian Ramírez, director of the Southern Border Communities Coalition, released the following statement:
“Policies that increase border enforcement and militarize our communities are misguided and out of sync with the realities of the border and the needs of families around the country. It is outright dangerous for the President to hire more unaccountable agents while slashing the funding that helps investigates them when they abuse their power. This is irresponsible and puts everybody at risk. Customs and Border Protection is an agency riddled with corruption, and throwing more resources at this agency is a misguided use of taxpayer dollars. It’s also unresponsive to the just demand of border residents who for years have called on our government to hold CBP accountable for its abusive behavior. We call on the administration to get its priorities straight, and to stop militarizing our communities.”
About Southern Border Communities Coalition
The Southern Border Communities Coalition (SBCC) brings together organizations from San Diego, California, to Brownsville, Texas, to ensure that border enforcement policies and practices are accountable and fair, respect human dignity and human rights, and prevent the loss of life in the region.