IE 11 is not supported. For an optimal experience visit our site on another browser.

Biden's proposed budget includes $4.7 billion emergency fund for border migrant surges

Congressional Republicans have already refused to approve $13.6 billion the administration wanted for border security, and border agencies face budget shortfalls.
Get more newsLiveon

President Joe Biden’s budget proposal for 2025 includes a $4.7 billion emergency fund for border security to enable the Department of Homeland Security to ramp up operations in the event of a migrant surge, according to a portion of the budget reviewed by NBC News.

The contingency fund would let DHS tap into funds on an as-needed basis when the number of undocumented migrants crossing the southern border tops a certain threshold that is unspecified in the budget. If the money is not used to address a surge, the money would be transferred to the general funds of Customs and Border Protection (CBP), Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) and the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA).

The request is likely to fall on deaf ears among congressional Republicans, who have already refused to fund $13.6 billion the Biden administration asked for in an emergency supplemental request aimed at responding to a record high number of migrants crossing the border.

A migrant crosses the Rio Grande with his child attempting to reach the United States border in Ciudad Juarez, Mexico
A migrant crosses the Rio Grande with his child attempting to reach the United States border in Ciudad Juarez, Mexico, on Jan. 2, 2024. David Peinado / Anadolu via Getty Images file

It comes as both CBP and ICE are facing significant budget shortfalls.

NBC News first reported that ICE will have to start cutting key operations by May if Congress does not help cover a $500 million budget gap.

Acting CBP Commissioner Troy Miller said that Republicans’ blocking of border provisions of the national security supplemental bill earlier this year will put his agency in a weaker position should the number of migrants rise as the weather warms.

“I certainly continue to be cognizant that the numbers of migrants coming across the southern border could increase and probably will increase in the weeks and months ahead,” Miller said. “I think that’s one of the reasons that as we looked at the national security bill, it gave us additional authorities and resources to effectuate a consequence so that we could quickly screen off folks that didn’t have a valid asylum claim and send them back.”

Migrants attempting to cross in to the U.S. from Mexico are detained by U.S. Customs and Border Protection in Jacumba Hot Springs, Calif.
U.S. Customs and Border Protection detains migrants trying to cross into the U.S. from Mexico in Jacumba Hot Springs, Calif., on Nov. 28. Nick Ut / Getty Images file

Biden’s budget also asks Congress for $405 million to hire 1,300 more Border Patrol agents, funding to keep ICE’s 34,000 existing detention beds, $1 billion for aid to Central America to address the root causes of migration, and nearly $1 billion to address the backlog of over 2.4 million pending cases in U.S. immigration courts.

To combat fentanyl smuggling, the budget asks for funding to hire an additional 1,000 CBP officers who can stop the illicit drug from coming across the U.S.-Mexico border and $849 million for technology to detect fentanyl at the border. 

After an NBC News report that some fentanyl detection scanners were sitting unused because of Republican opposition to funding to place them in the ground, Sen. Jon Tester, D.-Mont., asked Congress to fund the technology

The budget also asks Congress for funds to ensure that migrant children who cross the border unaccompanied are placed with relatives and sponsors as quickly as possible.

In a statement, Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas said, “The President’s Budget, in combination with the Senate’s bipartisan border security legislation, is vital to meeting the needs of our workforce and the challenges we face. The President’s Budget prioritizes staying ahead of the diverse and complex threats facing the homeland and highlights our unwavering dedication to protecting the security of the American people.”