The bipartisan budget agreement reached by congressional leaders late Sunday includes funds for border security, but increases the cap on a visa for low-skilled workers.
The White House originally requested funding in the budget that would go towards building a wall on the southwestern border, but later retracted this demand as Democrats threatened a government shutdown. The deal that was reached provides $1.5 billion towards border security, but none of these funds will go toward constructing a new wall.
These funds, however, will go towards repairing existing fencing, increasing the amount of detention beds, and technology to help secure the border, including drones. An executive order signed by Trump called for thousands of new ICE agents and tens of thousands of new detention beds, but he will have to settle for 100 new officers and around 5,000 new beds. The Washington Post did note that the Department of Justice would receive a $1.5 billion spending increase for “short-term detention space” that Republicans say could be used for illegal immigrants.
There is also a funding increase for the Executive Office of Immigration Review to hire at least 10 additional immigration judges. Both President Trump and Attorney General Jeff Sessions have called for a hiring surge for these judges. Sessions wants 125 new judges to be hired between 2017 and 2018. (RELATED: ‘THIS IS THE TRUMP ERA’: Sessions Announces New Push To Prosecute Illegal Immigrants)
Numbers USA, a group which advocates for reduced immigration, noticed that this proposed budget contains a provision which would undercut the Trump administration’s push against low-skilled immigrant labor. “The current cap for H-2B visas is 66,000 per year, but this provision would temporarily increase this cap by 79,168 visas for a total of 145,168 workers,” the group said in a blog post.
If passed, the budget would keep the government funded through September. White House adviser Dan Scavino tweeted out, “
#BuildTheWall” in regards to the bill, despite it including no funding for new construction.