U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) has requested an additional $1 billion dollars from the federal government, according to budget document obtained by The Washington Post.
According to the document, last month the agency requested Congress include the additional funds in a stopgap spending measure that must be passed by October 1 in order to avoid a government shutdown.
The $1 billion would be used to deport more than 253,000 undocumented immigrants throughout the next fiscal year, according to ICE estimates. That figure would be the government’s highest amount of deportations since 2014, when the Obama administration expelled more than 300,000 undocumented immigrants.
Without the funds, the administration says, thousands of detained immigrants may suffer from a “reduction in services” and they may be forced to suspend the arrests and deportations of immigrants deemed “threats to public safety.”
The Trump administration’s deportation machine is running at a breakneck pace. Recent data shows ICE officials are deporting roughly 20,000 immigrants a month. As of June 30, 191,000 undocumented immigrants have been deported so far this year, with the administration on track to deport substantially more than the 226,000 immigrants deported in 2017.
This recent sharp increase in deportations correlates with President Trump’s harsh rhetoric towards immigrants: calling people “animals,” for example. While ICE maintains that “criminals” are the primary targets of their deportations, they aren’t exclusively deporting people charged with crimes: About 44 percent of immigrants deported as of June 30 had no criminal records, according to ICE data.
ICE is also targeting people who have lived in the U.S. for years. A mother paying a traffic ticket, undocumented workers at a manufacturing plant, a mother who erroneously believed all her life she was an American citizen, and the wife of a Marine veteran are just a few of the immigrants arrested in the last year who did not have a criminal record.
News of the request for $1 billion in additional funds comes just after the Department of Homeland Security notified congressional subcommittees that it would move $200 million to ICE away from the Coast Guard, and the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) as the East Coast braces for Hurricane Florence.