Groups Ask Congress To Cut Border Enforcement Funds
Tuesday, November 22, 2011
Aired 11/22/11 on KPBS News.
The congressional supercommittee failed to settle on a bipartisan proposal to cut the nation's deficit. Some advocates for immigration reform say there are savings to be had by cutting border enforcement.
SAN DIEGO According to the Washington-based think tank National Immigration Forum, funding for the Border Patrol has grown by about 1,000 percent since 1993. Its operating budget is now $1.4 billion and it rises, on average, about $300 million annually.
The National Immigration Forum is one of a handful of pro-immigrant groups pressuring Congress to make cuts to border enforcement as a way to save taxpayers more than $2.6 billion.
"We believe that, at this juncture, an increase for Border Patrol in excess of $300 million in the coming fiscal year is unjustified," said Billy Moore, a spokesperson with the Texas Border Coalition, an association representing the mayors of towns and cities along the border.
"But when we are looking for cuts, we believe Congress could start there," Moore said.
The 2012 Department of Homeland Security budget calls for more than $16 billion for immigration and border enforcement. However, current changes to deportation policy that focus on immigrants who pose a threat to public safety are expected to save about $1.6 billion annually in detention costs.