The Biden administration is asking Congress to approve a temporary housing program as part of a nearly $2.7 billion border plan that would allow illegal immigrant families to stay in facilities separate from detention centers while they await processing.
Axios reported that a recently proposed Biden plan would give illegal immigrant families who cross the southern border unprecedented freedom while they wait to either be deported or gain asylum-seeker status.
As part of a $40 billion emergency funding request from the administration, the Department of Homeland Security would receive new funding for a new type of holding facility for the migrants as they go through an expedited process.
Families would be allowed to come and go as they please during the day but have to check in at night and sleep at the proposed campus.
Even a DHS official said that officials “do not view this as family detention,” according to Axios.
The alleged reasoning behind the proposal is to more easily keep track of migrants and ease the burden on local shelters in border towns.
The DHS is reportedly seeking permission from Congress to reach out to nonprofit and NGO contractors to run the family facilities.
“Managing a broken immigration system operating under decades-old laws takes significant resources and funding,” another DHS spokesperson said.
“We appreciate the $2.7 billion in the omnibus passed in December and we will continue to work with the White House and our federal partners to engage Congress on any potential need for supplemental appropriations needed to safely, securely and humanely manage the Southwest border.”
Southwest land border crossings were down to about 144,000 for June 2023, according to U.S. Customs and Border Protection. This was a significant drop from April-May 2023, which saw over 200,000 encounters for the first time since December 2022.
Border encounters are far higher under President Biden than under the Trump administration; from 2017 to 2020, the southwest border saw an average of 593,051 total encounters per year. Under Biden, that number exploded to 1,734,686 for 2021 and 2,378,944 in 2022.
The Biden administration is on pace for 2,177,296 total encounters for 2023 based on average monthly encounters in the first nine months of the fiscal year.
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