Bush to request $775 million for border fencing

Published 4 February 2008

DHS’s 2009 budget includes 19 percent increase in money for border security; administration to request $775 million to complete 670 miles of fencing this year and other infrastructure

DHS is asking for $12.4 billion to fund border security and immigration enforcement initiatives in fiscal 2009. DHS secretary Michael Chertoff said last week that the Bush administration’s proposed 2009 budget will include a 19 percent increase in money for border security and interior enforcement. President Bush is requesting $775 million to complete 670 miles of fencing this year and other infrastructure and technology enhancements. The budget request also includes:

* $442 million to hire, train and equip 2,200 new Border Patrol agents. That would bring the total to 20,000 agents by the end of September 2009

* About $3 billion for immigration enforcement activities

* Nearly $2 billion for Immigration and Customs Enforcement custody operations. This will add 1,000 new detention beds. Since 2005, ICE has increased the amount of detention beds by 78 percent

* About $100 million for E-Verify, a system to help employers find out if their employees are in the United States legally. DHS said it anticipated that participation in the program would increase from about 50,000 businesses currently to more than 100,000 this year, and 300,000 in 2009.

The Justice Department has also requested $100 million to hire 265 new agents to investigate criminal activity at the border.