Research Paper on Dependence Between the Budget and Immigration in US

Paper Type:  Research paper
Pages:  5
Wordcount:  1218 Words
Date:  2022-03-31


A major reshuffling of the U.S immigration department happened in the year 1986 and since then, approximately $263 billion has been spent on enforcement of immigration policies (Pierce, 2015). Budgetary expenditure on immigration is basically classified into two categories: Interior enforcement and border security. Border Security involves expenditure on resources, staff and the Customs and Border Protection (CBP). Alternatively, Interior enforcement involves expenditure on the Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) which is responsible for finding non-citizens who are within the country illegally. The interdependence between immigration and the budget has attracted raging debate in the U.S political scenery in recent years. Economists have largely agreed on the economic benefits that are brought about by immigration. On the other hand, there has been a massive disagreement on the impact of immigration on the budget. The dependence between the budget and immigration has had a negative effect on the budget in recent years.

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The first budget of the Trump administration brought about policy adjustments and an increase in budgetary allocations towards immigration. He is pursuing such measures in an effort to control the increased number of illegal immigrants. The immigration budget features significantly in the 4.1 trillion budget (U.S., 2018). It provides clear guidelines of how Trump intends to reduce the number of undocumented immigrants. At the moment, there is approximately 49, 000 interior enforcement personnel. There is also a 650-mile fence running along the border with Mexico (Pierce, 2015). The Trump administration plans to increase these numbers to ensure greater security along the Southern border. Security along the U.S border is dependent on the efficient utilization of resources. Trump at one time stated that "it follows through on my promise to keep Americans safe, keeping terrorists out of our nation, and putting violent offenders behind bars" (U.S., 2018). To back up his promises, he approved an increase of $2.7 billion on the previous budgetary allocation on border security.

Trump's second year in office has been characterized by a fierce debate over immigration policies and expenditure. The Democrats plan to use the widely unpopular immigration policies introduced by Trump to gain ground over their Republican counterparts in the upcoming Congress elections (U.S., 2018). The Democrats have argued that enforcement of immigration policies and increased budgetary allocation cannot address the problem of undocumented immigrants. The allocation to immigration also incorporates a significant targeting local governments that do not cooperate with immigration officials. The new policies incorporate a proposal to force local authorities to impound undocumented immigrants (U.S., 2018). Federal grants would be withheld from non-compliant local authorities as a way of punishing them. Currently, there is no legislation that necessitates local officers to honor the demands of immigration officials on detaining illegal immigrants (Nixon, 2018). The ICE (Immigration and Customs Enforcement) agency was mandated with the deportation of 2 million to 3 million undocumented immigrants and would receive and received an allocation of $190 million to recruit more officers (American Immigration Council, 2018). Clearly, it is a tall order trying to find the millions of illegal immigrants across the country. Therefore, the surge in undocumented immigrants has led to a high budgetary allocation that could have been avoided.

An estimation of the burden that undocumented immigration has on the taxpayer is dependent on the number of illegal immigrants. There can be no accurate determination of this number because the CBP only has the numbers for foreigners who are in the country through legal means (Pierce, 2015). The government is only notified about the undocumented immigrants when they are caught by federal agencies.

The education of immigrant children is also dependent on the budget. "The Elementary and Secondary Education Act of 1965, Title I provides supplemental federal funding to increase educational opportunities and improve the academic performance of children from poor families" (American Immigration Council, 2018). Approximately 13.1 billion was allocated for this purpose in the year 2015. There is no system in place to prevent the children of undocumented immigrants from enrolling in this program. Considering the number of public students in the United States currently stands at 50 million, nearly 8% of students are from undocumented families. The Trump administration is aiming at reducing these numbers. Getting rid of undocumented immigrants will reduce the budget on education by $940 million (Pierce, 2015). The government is also aiming at cutting budgetary expenditure on supplementary English language education. The federal government distributes funds to states for the program based on the number of legal immigrants in those states. However, it is not possible to establish who the legal and illegal immigrants are. In the year 2016, the government disbursed an estimated $740 million to support this program (American Immigration Council, 2018). However, there is a concern by the Trump administration that 74% of these people are undocumented immigrants. The budgetary allocation on this expenditure has been rising yearly which has proven to be a burden on the American taxpayer. This is the reason why the immigration department has been tough on state officers to take note of these rising numbers in each state.

The Trump administration's promise to crack down on undocumented immigrants also targets migrant schooling. The Migrant Education Program (MEP) provides financial support to immigrant children to prevent them from getting penalized as they move from one state to another. The federal budget allocation for this program in the year 2016 was $375 million (American Immigration Council, 2018). The immigration department approximates that the main beneficiaries of these funds are agricultural workers' children yet the majority of these workers are in the U.S illegally. In effect, an estimated $200 million is used on this program yet the majority of its beneficiaries are the children of illegal immigrants. Implementation of the policies that have been put in place by the Trump administration will see a majority of the illegal immigrants deported, which will marginally reduce the budgetary expenditure. However, deportations have to follow the legal process to determine the authenticity of any claims brought forward by those that are detained. In recent developments, Trump has been attempting to appeal to the Democrats to support his immigration budget that aims at clamping down on illegal immigrants. In exchange, "Trump has offered to fulfill a key Democratic demand- a path for citizenship for the so-called Dreamers" (Nixon, 2018). The Dreamers is a group of people who have been facing deportation since early 2017.


Overall, the dependence between the budget and immigration has had a negative effect on the budget in recent years. The first budget of the Trump administration brought about policy adjustments and an increase in budgetary allocations towards immigration. Trump's second year in office has also been characterized by a fierce debate over immigration policies and expenditure in which he attempts to increase budgetary expenditure to clamp down on undocumented aliens. In the end, the budget will be effective in reducing the number of illegal immigrants but the burden on taxpayers will be too high.


American Immigration Council. (2018). The Cost of Immigration Enforcement and Border Security. [online] Available at: [Accessed 6 Mar. 2018].
Nixon, J. (2018). Trump Budget Takes Broad Aim at Undocumented Immigrants. [online] Available at: [Accessed 6 Mar. 2018].
Pierce, S. (2015). Unaccompanied child migrants in US communities, immigration court, and schools. Washington, DC: Migration Policy Institute.

U.S. (2018). U.S. budget deal sets up wider fight over deficits, immigration. [online] Available at: [Accessed 6 Mar. 2018].

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