DHS Pumping Money Towards Border Fence

Posted: June 10, 2009 in Border issues Real Id DHS

“The spending bill would fund security the southwest border by providing $692 million to US Customs and Border Protection (CBP) for border infrastructure and technology along the southwest border, Price stated. The bill also would provide money to meet an overall staffing level of 20,019 Border Patrol agents.

Programs at US Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) in support of the Southwest Border Initiative would receive about $28 million more than requested by the White House, funding them with roughly $98 million. Those funds include an additional $10 million for ICE investigations of transnational gangs; an additional $10 million for ICE to fight of cross-border weapons smuggling; an additional $5 million for ICE investigations into drug smuggling; and about $3 million to combat human smuggling and trafficking.”

HOUSE BUDGET BILL ADDS FUNDS TO SOUTHWEST BORDER SECURITY

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by Mickey McCarter   
Tuesday, 09 June 2009

Homeland security subcommittee also focuses on cargo screening deadlines

The House version of the fiscal 2010 budget for the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) advanced out of the homeland security spending subcommittee Monday with more funding than originally requested to fund southwest border security operations while reducing the administration’s overall request by 1 percent.

Total discretionary funding for DHS would come in at $42.625 billion under the billion, an increase of 6.5 percent over fiscal 2009, excluding the cost of overseas operations for the US Coast Guard, declared Rep. David Price (D-NC), chairman of the Homeland Security Appropriations Subcommittee.

“This funding level reflects the hard decision Congress made in adopting this year’s budget resolution, which reduced overall funding levels by $10 billion. This subcommittee had to take its share of that cut,” Price said in his opening statement.

The spending bill would fund security the southwest border by providing $692 million to US Customs and Border Protection (CBP) for border infrastructure and technology along the southwest border, Price stated. The bill also would provide money to meet an overall staffing level of 20,019 Border Patrol agents.

Programs at US Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) in support of the Southwest Border Initiative would receive about $28 million more than requested by the White House, funding them with roughly $98 million. Those funds include an additional $10 million for ICE investigations of transnational gangs; an additional $10 million for ICE to fight of cross-border weapons smuggling; an additional $5 million for ICE investigations into drug smuggling; and about $3 million to combat human smuggling and trafficking.

The bill would provide $60 million for Operation Stonegarden in fiscal 2010 to provide grants to states and localities to strengthen law enforcement agencies along US borders.

Changes to the bill gained Republican support in the subcommittee. Ranking Member Hal Rogers (R-Ky.) decried the administration’s budget proposal as one that did not fully fund security efforts at the southwest border, thereby undercutting the fight against Mexican drug cartels.

“Indeed, I find it incredibly ironic and disappointing that just this past Friday, the President released a 77-page strategy on stopping the Mexican drug cartels that professes the need to enhance our intelligence and drug interdiction capabilities; and yet, his FY10 budget request only marginally increases DHS’s intelligence office and Border Patrol and actually proposes cuts to CBP’s operational assets and Coast Guard personnel,” Rogers lamented.

Bi-partisan changes made by the subcommittee, however, resulted in a “pretty good bill,” Rogers said.

Controversial programs that members of Congress are seeking to retool or outright kill also receive funding under the bill. The REAL ID program receives $25 million to cover administrative costs at US Citizenship and Immigration Services. Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano has been working with Senators to craft legislation that would rework the REAL ID Act. The bill also would provide a classified amount to the National Applications Office (NAO), which members like Rep. Jane Harman (D-Calif.) would like to abolish due to concerns over its use of satellite imagery for domestic intelligence efforts.

The bill also would extend the E-Verify employment verification program by two years, instead of three as the White House suggested, as Price anticipates a larger debate about immigration within that timeframe.

The spending bill also would allocate funds to the Domestic Nuclear Detection Office (DNDO), which received no funding under the administration’s fiscal 2010 budget proposal. Price said funding was necessary for all screening equipment to meet the congressionally mandated goals of 100 percent screening of air cargo by August 2010 and of US-bound sea cargo by 2012.

Napolitano and other homeland security officials have stated that those goals cannot be met due to a lack of technology and a lack of international cooperation. However, the fiscal 2010 budget bill that emerged from the subcommittee would provide $800 million for additional explosive detection systems and about $123 million for air cargo security activities at the Transportation Security Administration (TSA) to help meet the air cargo deadline.

CBP and DNDO would receive about $804 million under the bill to continue development of screening technology for radiological threats and nuclear weapons under the bill. Another $162 million would go to overseas operations to monitor foreign cargo and to assist with the development of screening technology to meet the 2012 deadline for ports.

In total CBP would receive $10 billion; ICE, $5.4 billion; the Federal Emergency Management Agency, $7.4 billion; TSA, $7.7 billion; and the US Coast Guard, $10 billion.

The full House Appropriations Committee is scheduled to mark up the bill on June 12.

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