Over the span of 20 years, spending on ICE and CBP more than doubled alongside steady growth in other forms of militarized spending.

By Lorah Steichen, National Priorities Project

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.

Border Patrol agents and Police detain a suspect on the side of the 5 freeway near Camp Pendleton Ca


  • 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.

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