By Bill Theobald
WASHINGTON — President Trump’s first budget provides more than $4.5 billion in new spending to fight illegal immigration — not just by building a wall along the southern border but by adding more than 1,700 border officers, prosecutors and judges.
Beginning work on the wall comes with the biggest outlay — $2.6 billion — followed by $1.5 billion for expanded detention, transportation and removal of illegal immigrants. The Department of Homeland Security estimates the wall will cost $21 billion.
The largest staffing increases would be 1,000 new Immigration and Customs Enforcement personnel and 500 new Border Patrol agents — all at a cost of $314 million. In executive orders issued five days after his inauguration, Trump called for adding 10,000 immigration officers and 5,000 border agents.
Overall, the Department of Homeland Security would receive a $2.8 billion, or 7%, increase compared to the current year budget.
Other immigration-related additions in the budget proposal include:
– $80 million to hire 75 new immigration judges to handle removal proceedings.
– Hiring 60 additional border enforcement prosecutors and 40 deputy U.S. marshals to catch and transport criminal aliens.
– Hiring 20 new attorneys to obtain land needed to secure the southwest border and another 20 attorneys and staff to handle immigration litigation.
– $15 million to begin implementation of mandatory nationwide use of the E-verify Program, which allows businesses to determine the legal status of new workers.
The budget also calls for spending $171 million to add short-term detention space to hold federal detainees, including criminal aliens, awaiting trial and sentencing.
Of course, like the rest of the Trump budget, this is simply his administration’s vision for spending, and Congress will ultimately decide the fiscal 2018 budget.