ICE warns of budget deficit, possible cutbacks
(NewsNation) — An internal Immigration and Customs Enforcement memo obtained by NewsNation says the agency is facing a $1 billion deficit and will be forced to scale back operations if it doesn’t get the funding it needs.
The memo, obtained exclusively for NewsNation from Customs and Border Patrol sources, noted that Enforcement and Removal Operations “is presently in a budget deficit of over $1 billion. There has been no definitive input on the DHS supplemental request which is approximately $8 billion. If there is no supplemental, all Field office director areas of operations and Divisions will be impacted.”
The budget shortfall happened because the agency essentially spent more money than it was budgeted, though the Department of Homeland Security is supposed to reallocate funding.
Sources said that alternative to detention programs put substantial costs on the agency, with the need for GPS, phone monitoring and payments to the contractors that handle those. Without supplemental funding, efforts to track migrants through the program would take a hit.
The memo also said the agency would need to redeploy employees assigned to the fugitive operations team, which is tasked with finding criminals and undocumented people who have a final order of removal.
In just the last week, fugitive operations agents have removed several pedophiles, MS-13 gang members and a man from Bangladesh accused of supporting a foreign terror organization. Without funding, the agency would have to reassign them to enforcement efforts and desk work.
White House press secretary Karine Jean-Pierre said Thursday that without additional appropriations in the coming weeks, ICE would be forced to reduce operations. She pointed to Congress, noting the administration has been asking for more funding and resources from Congress, but those requests have been ignored.
Rep. Tom Tiffany, R-Wis., blamed the administration for the issue.
“This highlights how the Biden administration will do anything at this point to try to shift blame to somebody else,” he said. “They can fix this problem, they can fix it today. They can fix it tomorrow, by the president securing the border. Instead, he’s finding every excuse possible.”
A bipartisan bill introduced in the Senate would have included $20.2 billion for border security improvements as well as making changes to border policies, including giving the president authority to close the border if a certain threshold of crossings was met.
President Joe Biden urged Congress to pass the bill; however, former President Donald Trump called on Republicans to reject the legislation because it wasn’t “perfect.” Senate Republicans blocked the compromise from being passed, though House Republicans said they wouldn’t have supported the bill even if it had made it through the Senate.
In response to NewsNation’s reporting, Rep. Tony Gonzales, R-Texas, said he has requested a meeting with the ICE director.
NewsNation reached out to DHS for comment and is waiting to hear back.