The Cost of the Holiday Season: Increasing Funds for Border Enforcement Will Separate Families and Take Away From Human Needs

Photo Credit: Naeblys (iStock)

More money for deportations and detentions? No thank you. 

This holiday season, like any other, is a time to gather with families and loved ones. However, recent talks of extra border funds – including a boost for the agencies responsible for border detentions and deportations  – means that not all families will be reunited. Instead, many more will be separated by these two abusive enforcement agencies.

Any minute now, the Senate will vote on whether to advance the White House request for a foreign aid package that would give $111 billion to Israel, Ukraine, around China (for a war that hasn’t even started), and for border enforcement in the U.S. 

The vote is expected to fail since some Senators – in exchange for Ukraine funding – want to  alarmingly change the asylum system as we know it. These extreme changes would make it exponentially harder for immigrants to get asylum through asylum bans and restrictions, and limit authority of the executive branch to grant humanitarian parole.

ICE and CBP already received a staggering $26 billion in 2023. The Senate’s supplemental request gives $7.6 billion more to ICE and CBP, the agencies responsible for border detentions and deportations – adding nearly 30% more to their annual budget. $7.6 billion could safely resettle 1.4 million refugees in the U.S. as war, climate catastrophe, and economic devastation drive people out of their home countries. The regular budget for ICE and CBP, at $26 billion, could have paid for all of the following: 230,000 registered nurses, early childhood education for more than half a million kids, and solar power for more than half the nation’s households. 

As we await the Senate’s vote, let’s keep in mind what all these billions of dollars are for. More money for war, weapons, and the separation of families don’t feel in line with the holiday spirit of peace and gathering with loved ones. Instead let’s invest our taxpayer dollars into safe homes, reliable healthcare, funded education, and a just energy transition. Let’s invest in caring for each other.