(NewsNation) — Republican Congressman Tony Gonzales told NewsNation’s “Rush Hour” on Thursday that he’s alarmed after a report from Axios revealed that U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement is poised to spend more taxpayer funds than ever, as it has a budgetary deficit of $345 million for this fiscal year.
“It’s dangerous to national security. It’s dangerous to border security,” Gonzales said.
The growing deficit is more fallout from the crisis at the border as enforcement agencies struggle to cope with the ongoing surge in crossings. Gonzales says the budget problems are a flashing red sign that bipartisan work needs to be done on immigration.
“The time is now for Congress to come together. And the time is now on immigration reform and border security. The time is now for the White House to work with Congress on getting this done,” Gonzales said.
And that’s where he seems to agree with Democratic Sen. Tammy Duckworth..
“I do think that we need to secure the border. we need to do what we can to support our border security forces so they can do their jobs in a humane way,” said Duckworth, who also joined “Rush Hour” on Thursday.
Additionally, sources revealed to Axios that ICE will run out of money before October unless the Department of Homeland Security is able to shift millions of dollars from other programs. Two people told Axios that about $100 million could come from the Coast Guard’s budget, while $80 million could be freed up by moving around existing ICE funds.
Even if that extra funding came together, though, the federal agency would still need another several million dollars, meaning it would potentially need more assistance from the government.
Axios cited several reasons for the $345 million shortfall: new policies, court decisions and border trends. But the publication noted that it’s not clear how much of ICE’s financial problem stems from a low early estimate of needs at the border, and how much of it comes from how the agency has managed its funds.
Border P:atrol has seen more than 200,000 encounters with migrants per month recently, with numbers reaching new all-time highs for the Department of Homeland Security.
ICE planned to spend around $15 million on training for its officers to follow President Joe Biden’s enforcement policy to focus on arrests of convicted criminals, Axios said, although a judge’s order ruled that prioritization policy illegal June 10, per The New York Times.
An additional $100 million was reportedly spent to restart the Trump-era Migrant Protection Protocols or “Remain in Mexico” immigration policy, which required migrants seeking asylum to stay on the Mexican side of the southwest border as they wait for their claims to be processed. Recently, the Supreme Court ruled the Biden administration can roll back that policy — but money was already put into enforcing it.
“There’s $100 million right out the window,” Charles Marino, former acting special agent in charge with the U.S. Secret Service, said on NewsNation’s “Morning in America.” “$15 million to the new enforcement priorities of the Biden administration, which were overturned by the courts. So there’s a lot of mismanagement here.”
Marino said it is the Biden administration’s policies causing the rising number of migrants coming into the country.
“The administration did not uniformly enforce Remain in Mexico, they did not uniformly enforce Title 42 regarding COVID, so that word is out now, and people are making the journey,” he said. “The big thing here is now you’ve got to take funds from other agencies that also have very important missions.”
The Biden administration has sent far fewer people back to Mexico than its predecessor Donald Trump, The Associated Press reported.
According to the American Immigration Council, since 2003, ICE spending has nearly tripled, from $3.3 billion to $8.3 billion currently. The Council said a lot of the funding has gone to increasing ICE’s ability to hold immigrants in detention centers.