Senator Josh Hawley Challenges Federal Funding For Immigrant ID Program

 May 14, 2024

Senator Josh Hawley is introducing legislation aimed at halting a controversial ICE ID program for undocumented immigrants, which is scheduled to be implemented this summer.

According to Fox News, Senator Hawley's bill seeks to end taxpayer support for the ICE Secure Docket Card program, which is slated to start this summer.

The program became public in 2022 when it was first reported that the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) intended to implement a new system of identity cards known as the ICE Secure Docket Cards. These cards are designed to modernize documentation for some noncitizens.

Understanding the ICE Secure Docket Card Program

The ICE describes these ID cards as a step forward in streamlining processes and ensuring the efficient verification of identities. While not serving as official federal identification, they would connect to a digital portal and involve thorough national security checks before issuance.

ICE has announced that the transition to secure cards is anticipated to significantly reduce costs for the agency, potentially allowing the reallocation of resources and ensuring that Department of Homeland Security officials can access information swiftly.

Senator Hawley, however, views the program through a different lens. He has voiced strong opposition, citing the ongoing border issues and arguing that funds should instead be directed toward enhancing border security and managing immigration more effectively.

Legislative Responses and Political Opposition

Senator Hawley's proposed act, the "No Taxpayer Funds for Illegal Immigrant Identity Cards Act," would prohibit the allocation of federal funds to this program or any similar projects. This bill demands a review from the Department of Homeland Security Inspector General to outline the program's costs.

Senator Hawley stated, "Joe Biden opened the border and ushered in an era of unprecedented chaos in the US. And now, rather than getting the crisis under control, he wants to use Americans’ money to fund ID cards for illegals." His perspective underscores a significant contention point in current U.S. political debates over immigration policy and the use of federal resources.

During an expected rollout this summer, ICE plans to distribute around 10,000 secure cards across three to four locations as a pilot program. This initiative assists provisionally released noncitizens, streamlining their identity verification process.

Recent Incidents and Broader Context

The political discourse around this program also ties into broader security concerns. Earlier this month, a Colombian national, previously wanted for aggravated homicide and released into the U.S., was arrested in Massachusetts. This incident has fueled further debate over the effectiveness and implications of immigration policies and practices.

In defense of the program, an ICE spokesperson remarked, "Moving to a secure card will save the agency millions, free up resources, and ensure information is quickly accessible to DHS officials while reducing the agency’s FOIA backlog."

Senator Hawley remains firm in his opposition, stating, "Enough. Biden should be deporting illegal immigrants and securing our border, not giving them IDs and making it easier for them to take advantage of taxpayer benefits." His remarks reflect a broader critique of current immigration policies under the Biden administration.

Implementing the ICE Secure Docket Card program continues to be a contentious issue. With its planned pilot rollout approaching this summer, debates are intensifying over the best use of federal resources, the management of immigration, and the prioritization of national security measures.

About Victor Winston

Victor is a freelance writer and researcher who focuses on national politics, geopolitics, and economics.

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