Despite calls to limit the federal government’s expenses Congress was able to agree not only to fund immigration policing but on the exact number of beds and Border Patrol agents. The federal budget that President Obama signed two weeks ago, H.R. 1473, requires ICE to maintain at least 33,400 prison beds in fiscal year 2011. The cost of these beds is to come from ICE’s “salaries and expenses” appropriation of $5,437,643,000—that’s $5.4 billion to those of us who are not used to working in so many digits.
The ICE budget is in addition to the $8.2 billion ($8,212,626,000) set aside for Customs and Border Protection. Again, members of Congress identified a specific minimum number of Border Patrol agents that this money must pay for—“21,370 agents protecting the border of the United States by September 30, 2011.”
Travis Packer at the American Immigration Council’s Immigration Impact blog has identified a number of other immigration-related funding decisions. The bed space and Border Patrol agent allocations are at pages 103 and 104 of the 175 page budget.