The draft report attached to the Department of Homeland Security Appropriations bill released this week promises to fund DHS at or above its requested levels for key crimmigration related activities. Draft House Report of the Committee on Appropriations, Department of Homeland Security Appropriations Bill 2012. The Draft Report recommends that ICE receive $2.75 billion for detention and removal operations, $194 million to expand Secure Communities, and requires it to maintain 34,000 immigration prison beds.
ICE is slated to receive “$5,522,474,000 for Salaries and Expenses, $25,627,000 above the amount requested and $84,831,000 above the amount provided in fiscal year 2011.” Draft House Report at 48. At least $1.6 billion must be allocated to ICE programs intended “to identify aliens with criminal records who are incarcerated, at-large, or are determined to pose a serious risk to public safety or national security, and to remove those who are deportable.” Draft House Report at 48. Of this $1.6 billion, “$194,064,000 is provided for continued expansion of the Secure Communities program.” Draft House Report at 48.
The Draft Report also explains funding amounts for immigration imprisonment. “The Committee recommends $2,750,843,000 for ICE Detention and Removal, $26,718,000 more than the [Department’s] request, to raise the minimum number of detention bed spaces that ICE must maintain on a daily basis to 34,000.” Draft
House Report at 52. In contrast to the $2.75 billion devoted to detention and removal, “The Committee provides $72,373,000 for ICE Alternatives to Detention programs, as requested.” Draft House Report at 53.
The rather paltry funding for ATD programs does not comfort with the report issued by President Obama’s former point person on revamping the immigration prison system, Dora Schriro, who advocated greater emphasis of ATD options. Dora Schriro, Immigration Detention Overview and Recommendations 20-21 (Oct. 6, 2009). In an article I published recently in the Berkeley La Raza Law Journal, I also encouraged DHS to use ATD programs as a way of reducing the immigration prison population. Due Process and Immigrant Detainee Prison Transfers: Moving LPRs to Isolated Prisons Violates Their Right to Counsel, 20 Berkeley La Raza L.J. 17 (2011).
Interestingly, the Committee also orders ICE to regularly inform it of “all steps being taken to reduce the costs of detention and removal, including strategies to minimize transportation costs and house detainees at the lowest cost facilities.” Draft House Report at 52. ICE is instructed to “work with the Executive Office of Immigration Review (EOIR) to speed processing as consistent with due process, continuing to review contracts to ensure maximum flexibility and lowest cost to ICE, and considering the costs and benefits of public and private providers for all services, including food and medical services.” Draft House Report at 52.
Meanwhile, the report explains that Customs and Border Patrol will receive funding for 21,370 Border Patrol agents. Draft House Report at 32. Of those, 18,415 must be located on the southwest border with 2,212 on the northern border. Draft House Report at 32.
The draft appropriations bill was also released this week.