President Joe Biden is reportedly asking Congress to approve a housing program for illegal immigrants at the southern border as part of his $40 billion emergency funding request.
Biden’s plan would provide housing for illegal immigrants where they could come and go as they please while the Department of Homeland Security puts them through an expedited process, Axios reported. Officials told the outlet that funding for the housing program — if approved by Congress — would allow the government to get the illegal immigrants through the legal process within three weeks.
The Biden administration claims a housing program will allow the federal government to keep track of illegal immigrants without placing them in a detention facility and would take some of the burden off overrun migrant shelters near the border. After the administration stopped holding illegal immigrants in detention facilities in 2021, Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) expanded its use of GPS monitoring and phone calls to check in with illegal immigrants who are seeking asylum after being let go inside the U.S.
Biden’s proposed housing program would give illegal immigrants the freedom to leave during the day before they would have to check in and stay the night at the housing facility, a DHS official told Axios.
“We do not view this as family detention,” the official said.
The president took heat from the Left earlier this year when he reportedly considered returning to detaining illegal immigrant families, a policy he harshly criticized former President Donald Trump over. The president’s apparent reversal on the issue came at the end of Title 42, a Trump-era public health order that forced illegal immigrants to await their asylum claims in Mexico due to the COVID pandemic.
Illegal immigration continues to spike under Biden, and he now faces calls from the Right and some on the Left to get the border crisis under control. The Biden administration celebrated a brief dip in illegal immigrant apprehensions in June before a 30% surge in July, The Texas Tribune reported.
The slight decrease in arrests in June was a record low under Biden but was still an increase compared to numbers seen during the Trump administration.
U.S. Customs and Border Protection arrested just under 100,000 illegal immigrants in June before the number spiked to more than 130,000 in July. In the Tucson, Arizona, sector, U.S. agents arrested around 40,000 illegal immigrants in July alone — setting a 15-year record for the sector, according to CBP data.
Biden’s $40 billion emergency spending request includes $4 billion to address the border crisis, which is $20 billion less than he requested be sent to Ukraine, according to POLITICO.