It’s budget time for DHS- Good thing the borders are secure…

Today the House appropriators will delve into the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) 2013 budget. Even though the Obama Administration hasn’t passed a budget in more than 1,000 days, federal agencies are required by law to allocate funds to ensure the government keeps the “open signs” flashing. A substantial portion of DHS’s budget funds Border Patrol agents who now claim apprehensions have decreased significantly the past few years. Yes, arrests are down, but studying the Border Patrol data, a number of conclusions can be drawn about the dwindling northern migration. The drop may not necessarily mean fewer illegals heading north for a better life. First, America’s economy remains lackluster offering a limited supply of jobs; drug cartel’s heavy-handed control of U.S./Mexico border regions and the skyrocketing violence they embody may be responsible for scaring off illegal border crossers. Or something as simple as the agents along the border are not arresting all illegals they encounter, many unlawful border crossers are given the opportunity to walk back to Mexico without a rap sheet. Tackling the nuts and bolts of the Obama Administration’s proposed FY 2013 budget, one can conclude Obama thinks the border is secure. Unfortunately for the President, the “do nothing” Congress will dissect the budget and don’t consider the “security issue” as resolved. (FY 2013 Subcommittee Draft Homeland Security Appropriations bill) According to the Center for Immigration Studies Director of National Security, Janice Kephart, Congressional appropriators will begin debate for several budgetary sub-agencies that fall under DHS. The following numbers are baseline expenditures for Customs Border Protection: Customs and Border Protection (CBP) Total appropriations requested – $10,344,641,000 Total appropriations recommended – $10,164,401,000 Immigration and Customs Enforcement (CBP) ICE total appropriations requested – $5,332,192,000 ICE total appropriations recommended – $5,473,787,000 At first glance, the CBP budget submitted by the president cuts roughly $180 million from the House Republican appropriators’ full budget line of $10.16 billion. However, that is not the case as the appropriators denied a request to dismantle US-VISIT, which added $249.2 million to CBP’s budget. The committee also blocked the CBP from shifting $8 million to Immigration and Enforcement (ICE)’s Enforcement and Removal Operations. In addition, the committee will create more accountability from CBP technology innovations by providing an Automated Modernization account of $375 million. According to Kephart, “the Border Patrol shall maintain an active duty presence of at least 21,370 full-time agents protecting the borders of the United States in the fiscal year.” She explains the appropriators would have made CBP’s budget contingent on a number of factors. “Usually budget statements like these are only included when appropriators have seen agency actions that indicate an agency is not living up to its statutory requirements,” Kephart said. “In this case, the appropriators are expressing a concern that DHS may not (or has not) been maintaining an active-duty Border Patrol at full levels.” ICE House appropriators expressed concern for Immigration Customs and Enforcement’s stated policies to retaliate against those states interested in supporting federal immigration enforcement; reduce regional detention beds; undertake selective enforcement of immigration law and improve worksite enforcement efforts. DHS hopes to restore 34,000 detention beds state and allow local law enforcement training by ICE officers under Secure Communities, commonly referred to as the 287(g) program. Also included is direct funding for the Visa Security Program, which the State Department has sought to curtail repeatedly something Kephart testified before Congress. Key language in the bill provides additional insight: Not less than $134,626,000 shall be for worksite enforcement investigations, audits, and activities Not less than $1,600,000,000 shall be available to identify aliens convicted of a crime who may be deportable, and to remove them from the United States once they are judged deportable, of which $138,249,000 shall be for completion of Secure Communities deployment The Assistant Secretary of Homeland Security for U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement shall report to the Committees on Appropriations of the Senate and the House of Representatives, not later than 45 days after the end of each quarter of the fiscal year, on progress in implementing the preceding proviso and the funds obligated during that quarter to make such progress The Secretary of Homeland Security shall prioritize the identification and removal of aliens convicted of a crime by the severity of that crime Funding made available … shall maintain a level of not less than 34,000 detention beds through September 30, 2013 Of the total amount provided, not less than $2,749,840,000 is for detention and removal operations, including transportation of unaccompanied minor aliens, of which not less than $91,460,000 shall be for alternatives to detention Of the total amount provided, $10,300,000 shall remain available until September 30, 2014, for the Visa Security Program Of the funds provided under this heading may be used to continue a delegation of law enforcement authority authorized under section 287(g) of the Immigration and Nationality Act (8 U.S.C. 1357(g)) if the Department of Homeland Security Inspector General determines that the terms of the agreement governing the delegation of authority have been violated. US-VISIT Finally, the most controversial presidential budget request pertaining to border security was the administration’s attempt to move US-VISIT from DHS to CBP. The appropriators rejected Obama’s request for the change and will continue with a new program name. The new name, IDENT, simply reflects that US-VISIT has grown out of its original mission to be the border biometric hub and will take on a bigger role to support other border missions as well as federal and state law enforcement. CIS analyzed the US-VISIT program in February 2012 and provided a litany of reasons why the program should not be dismantled. “I wrote about this important immigration tool, I’m very glad the appropriators agreed,” Kephart finished. Meanwhile the budget talks in DC have done nothing to slow the daily assault Mexican nationals are faced with, nearly 50,000 murders in five years, gruesome beheadings and attacks on government officials remain issues for American security. For more stories; © Copyright 2012 Kimberly Dvorak All Rights Reserved.

About thekdreport

Investigative journalist

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