San Diego

President's Budget Proposal Sparks Mixed Feelings in San Diego

Some San Diegans are pleased with President Trump's budget proposal, while others cited causes for concern.

President Donald Trump's budget plan is just a proposal at this point, but it's already sparked mixed feelings in San Diego.

Although the plan awaits approval from Congress, many local groups have responded with criticism.

"Everybody is kind of freaking out and just holding their breath," said James Floros, President of San Diego’s Food Bank. "We are preparing for the worst, but hoping for the best."

The proposed budget clearly lays out the administration’s priorities, including national security, veteran affairs and immigration. The plan includes a 30 percent cut to federal food stamp programs like the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP).

San Diego’s Food Bank helps roughly 370,000 people a month. 

Floros said that even though the Food Bank would not be affected by the cuts, the budget would lead to a negative domino effect across San Diego County.

“We’re looking ahead. Our lines would get longer and there’s going to be pressure on our food bank to meet that need,” Floros told NBC 7.

The Trump Administration said it's not going to cut services for the people with the most dire need. Instead, the administration is focusing on targeting people for cuts who may be taking advantage of the system.

"Maybe it’s reasonable to ask if there are folks who are on there who shouldn’t be. Is that a reasonable question to ask?" said Mick Mulvaney, President of the Office of Management and Budget.

The proposed budget also calls for funding to build a new wall along the Southern Border.

However, that's no easy task for the administration to accomplish.

Democrats have declared that the issue of the wall's construction is a deal breaker. Back in April, it was taken off the table in order to avoid a complete government shutdown.

In response, President Trump has made it clear that border security is non-negotiable.

“We are absolutely dead serious about the wall,” added Mulvaney.

The Head of the Local Border Patrol Union, Terence Shigg, said their team is understaffed and needs more funding to effectively prevent criminals from entering the country illegally.

"We are 2,000 agents below the number that was supposed to be at the bottom," said Shigg. "We need funding to hire more personnel, to improve our infrastructure and to keep the bad guys out."

Critics have said the Border Patrol doesn't need more funding, as demonstrated by a consistent drop in the number of illegal crossings in San Diego for years. Immigrants usually overstay their visas rather than attempt to cross the land border, according to the Trans-Border Institute at the University of San Diego (USD).

Shigg explained to NBC 7 why he disagrees with that argument.

"There is a reason why they've dropped. They've dropped, one, because of the perception and because of the man power," said Shigg. "If either one of those is down, those numbers will go right back up."

The budget plan will likely be modified before it’s approved by Congress. The current plan does not lay out specific tax cuts.

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