Pres. Trump called for making improvements to the E-Verify system in order to support a nationwide mandate in his 2018 budget request to Congress. Requiring all employers to use E-Verify is the top step in our 'Ten Steps to Fixing the Broken Immigration Enforcement System'.
Pres. Trump will need help from Congress, though, in making E-Verify mandatory for all employers. First, his request to set aside $15 million to make improvements to the system is just that -- a request. Congress would need to make it official by including it in its FY18 DHS spending bill. Furthermore, requiring all employers to use the employment verification system would require legislation from Congress.
But budget requests tend to be clues to what an administration's legislative priorities are, and it appears that mandatory E-Verify is a priority for the Trump administration.
In addition to his 2018 budget request, Pres. Trump also issued a spending request for FY17. The current continuing resolution expires on April 28, so Congress will need to pass another bill to fund the government through the end of the fiscal year, which ends on Sept. 30.
Both of Pres. Trump's proposals include increases for the Department of Homeland Security. While DHS has areas of operation aside from immigration, much of the increase does go towards enhancing border security and strengthening interior enforcement. Pres. Trump has requested $44.1 billion in DHS funding for FY18. By comparison, Pres. Obama requested $44 billion for DHS in his first budget in 2011.
Here's an overview of Pres. Trump's other spending requests:
Additional ICE and Border Patrol Agents -- The FY17 supplemental request calls for the hiring of 10,000 ICE agents and 5,000 Border Patrol agents. The FY18 budget calls for the hiring of an additional 1,000 ICE agents and 500 Border Patrol agents.
Interior Enforcement -- The FY17 supplemental spending request includes $1.2 billion for ICE. Some of this funding will go towards the hiring of of additional ICE agents, but much of it will go towards the implementation of DHS Secretary John Kelly's February memos. The funding would allow for expanding the 287(g) program and supporting the expedited removal of criminal aliens.
Border Enhancements -- The FY17 supplemental spending request includes $1.4 billion for border enhancements, and the FY18 budget request includes $2.6 billion. Many critics are saying that funds will go towards building the "wall", but that's not true. While some of it does go towards building physical barriers along the southwest border, it also goes towards improving technology and infrastructure in the border region to make it easier for Border Patrol agents to do their job. And while there's no specific earmark for the implementation of a biometric entry-exit system, Pres. Trump has called for its expedited implementation in his executive orders, so some funding may go to that as well.
Enforcement Statistics -- Pres. Trump's FY17 spending request also sets aside funding to improve enforcement statistics. This may sound like an insignificant request, but these stats have been inconsistent over the years. By developing a more consistent and transparent record, we'll be better able to keep an eye on the Trump administration and get a better picture of the enforcement efforts of past administrations.
CHRIS CHMIELENSKI is the Director of Content & Activism for NumbersUSA