U.S. Department of Homeland Security will seek a 19 percent budget increase for border security and immigration enforcement efforts in fiscal year 2009. The increase will enable the department to fulfill its border infrastructure, fencing and personnel goals by the end of 2008.

“The President's budget request builds on our accomplishments and substantially reinforces our commitment to provide more boots on the ground, strengthen interior enforcement, and add new technology and fencing at the border," says Homeland Security Secretary Michael Chertoff.

There has been remarkable progress at our borders over the past year. DHS has continued the practice of “catch and return” at the border, surpassed its fencing goals, and seen record enforcement numbers against illegal immigration and narcotics smuggling activities.

The President is requesting $775 million for secure border fencing, infrastructure and technology in FY 2009, which together with 2008 funding provides $2 billion for the secure border initiative. The FY 2009 budget requests an additional $442 million to hire, train and equip 2,200 new Border Patrol agents, which will achieve our goal of 20,000 agents by the end of September 2009. This will more than double the size of the Border Patrol under President Bush’s leadership.

The FY 2009 budget will expand those efforts to target employers of illegal aliens and immigration violators, as well as dangerous criminal networks. U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement worksite enforcement cases are at an all-time high: roughly 700 percent higher than Immigration and Naturalization Service’s worksite cases in its final year of operation in fiscal year 2002. ICE has removed roughly 240,000 illegal aliens, made 850 criminal arrests, and fined or seized more than $30 million following worksite investigations to date

The FY 2009 budget provides for even greater enforcement activities along with advances in verification tools available to employers. The DHS budget seeks $3 billion for enforcement activities, $1.8 billion for ICE custody operations and $100 million to support expanded use of the departments E-verify web site which is used to confirm employment eligibility of workers.

Source: DHS news release