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House homeland security chairman disappointed by budget’s border security funding

Rep. Michael McCaul

The president’s proposed 2014 budget for the Department of Homeland Security is light on money for border security technology and eliminates thousands of beds for detained undocumented immigrants, but it does make a commitment to Cyber security, according to the chairman of the House Homeland Security Committee

In the hours after the White House and DHS unveiled their plans for the fiscal 2014 budget on April 10, House Homeland Security Committee chairman Michael McCaul (R-TX) said the administration is cutting corners and ignoring other important functions.

“The Administration is again attempting to save money by cutting more than 2,000 detention beds for illegal immigrants, which will put some with violent criminal histories back out on the streets,” said McCaul.  “In February, the Administration blamed sequestration for having to release detainees from Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) custody. This budget demonstrates that reducing illegal immigrant detention was their goal all along. Equally concerning is that the Administration is decreasing this funding while drastically increasing funding for its new Department of Homeland Security (DHS) headquarters.”

The president’s budget proposed $367 million to continue building the DHS headquarters project in southeast Washington.

“Unfortunately, the President’s proposal also reduces funding for border security technology,” said McCaul, adding that technology like aerostats and integrated fixed towers face cuts under the plan. “While the President’s budget rightly increases the number of Customs and Border Protection officers, these agents need the detection capabilities provided by advanced technology in order to see and stop people and illicit materials from getting into the U.S.,” he said.

McCaul noted a bright spot in the plan, however. “I am encouraged, however, that the administration has increased DHS funding for cybersecurity, including the National Cybersecurity and Communications Integration Center (NCCIC).”

McCaul’s criticism of the administration’s budgeting for border security followed his introduction of a bill on April 10 called the Border Security Results Act of 2013 (H.R. 1417). The legislation would mandate the creation of comprehensive national strategy to secure U.S. borders and requires deployment of metrics to gauge the results of border security efforts.

A similar bill was introduced by Sen. John Cornyn (R-TX) the same day in the Senate.

McCaul’s legislation was co-sponsored by the committee’s minority leader Rep. Bennie G. Thompson (D-MS), and Rep. Sheila Jackson Lee (D-TX), ranking member of the Border and Maritime Security Subcommittee.


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