ICE is lying – there is no budget shortfall. Advocates say there are other solutions

For Immediate Release: 
Wednesday, February 21, 2024

Washington, DC – In response to recent reporting by NBC News, The Washington Post, The New York Times, and other outlets citing Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) officials claiming a budget shortfall and demanding more funding, Setareh Ghandehari, Advocacy Director at Detention Watch Network, offered the following comment: 

“ICE is lying – full stop. The agency’s ‘budget shortfall’ narrative is a dangerous PR stunt when ICE already boasts an astronomical budget of $8.4 billion. The failed supplemental funding proposal would have unnecessarily provided more than $7 billion on top of this, nearly doubling the currently appropriated budget, and would have included the largest appropriation of funds for immigration detention custody and surveillance operations in ICE’s history. The reality is that since 2016, Congress has increased ICE’s budget by about 40 percent as documented by the Defund Hate campaign. More resources for ICE translates to increased targeting and racial profiling of people, more people in the abusive immigration detention system, and heightened surveillance of communities nationwide. Despite the continued and growing calls across the country for real cuts to ICE’s funding and an end to the agency’s inhumane practices, including immigration detention, ICE’s budget growth has continued. 

Advocates across the progressive sphere continue to demand that taxpayer dollars be redirected away from ICE and instead invested into resources that support communities collective well-being like affordable housing for all income levels, education and access to healthcare. Simply, people should be welcomed into the United States and allowed to work and contribute to their families and communities. Moreover, people navigating their immigration case should be able to do so with their families and in community – not behind bars in immigration detention.”


Detention Watch Network (DWN) is a national coalition building power through collective advocacy, grassroots organizing, and strategic communications to abolish immigration detention in the United States.