Last month Congress approved a $782 billion Pentagon budget. Soon thereafter, President Biden released next year’s budget request, boosting that number even higher to $813 billion. The budget also continues the shameful trend in the militarization of immigration policy, maintaining or increasing Trump-era spending for Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) and Customs and Border Protection (CBP) — agencies that profile, jail, and deport immigrants.

Over the span of 20 years, spending on ICE and CBP more than doubled alongside steady growth in other forms of militarized spending. Altogether, spending on the military, immigrant detention, federal law enforcement, and border militarization accounts for nearly two out of every three discretionary dollars spent in the President’s budget proposal.


  • A victory for movements organizing to defund immigration enforcement and detention, President Biden’s budget requests a significant cut to the number of ICE detention beds, eliminating all family detention beds, and cuts to ICE’s enforcement and custody funding. At the same time, the budget continues to expand e-carceration and surveillance programs, by the hundreds of thousands.
  • The President’s budget requests increasing funding for CBP beyond Trump-era spending levels, including funding hundreds of new border patrol agents and funneling hundreds of millions toward invasive border surveillance technology. This comes after the FY2022 omnibus budget bill passed earlier this year maintained CBP funding levels roughly the same as Trump-era spending. The further militarization of the border will continue to devastate border communities and the environment.



A slight decrease to funding levels passed in the FY22 omnibus appropriations bill, the President’s Budget requests $8.1 billion to Immigration and Customs Enforcement — ICE —  the agency tasked with punitive immigration law enforcement including immigrant detention and deportation operations.

  • Calls for a reduction in funding for ICE’s enforcement and custody budgets: $3.8 billion for Enforcement and Removal Operations.

  • Requests a historic reduction in immigration detention beds: $2.4 billion for custody operations. The budget request funds a decrease of detention beds to 25,000 from the 34,000 funded in the latest FY22 omnibus bill—eliminating all family detention beds and reducing total bed capacity at immigration detention facilities by 25%.

  • Calls for a significant increase in ICE “Alternatives to Detention” (ATD) to $527 million. The request projects an average daily participant level to 170,000, but that could rise to 200,000 by the end of FY22.

  • Calls for an increase to Homeland Security Investigations (HSI) to $2.3 billion.


An increase to FY22 funding levels, the President’s Budget requests $15.3 billion to Customs and Border Protection — CBP —  the agency tasked with borders and customs enforcement including the Border Patrol.

  • Calls for increased spending on the U.S. Border Patrol to $5.4 billion. An increase to FY22 funding levels, this includes funding for 300 additional Border Patrol agents.

  • Calls for increased spending for border security technology to $309 million. This includes $60 million for enforcement aircraft, $13 million for surveillance towers, and $13 million for aircraft sensor upgrades.

  • Requests $17.7 million for transportation of non-citizens at the Southwest border.

While not a comprehensive list, these funding provisions reflect priorities of Defund Hate coalition partners.


The Biden administration came into office promising to dismantle Trump’s harmful immigration policies. But we have been dismayed to see violent and deadly immigration enforcement policies continue to be funded at obscene levels. As Congress now moves toward a negotiated FY2023 budget, we call on them to build off of the cuts indicated in President Biden’s budget proposal, boldly reduce DHS funding for ICE and CBP, and reinvest in our communities.

Lorah Steichen is an outreach coordinator for the National Priorities Project at the Institute for Policy Studies.

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