WASHINGTON–The fiscal year 2023 Homeland Security bill provides a total discretionary level of $60.7 billion, which is $3.2 billion more than the fiscal year 2022 enacted level. The bill supports critical steps to: help communities both recover from disasters and rebuild for resiliency; combat the flow of illegal firearms and narcotics while facilitating legitimate trade and travel; disrupt forced labor through increased enforcement to detect and seize goods manufactured through modern day slavery; and create a more humane and safe environment for both noncitizens seeking asylum and our nation’s dedicated front-line law enforcement managing our borders.
U.S. Senator Chris Murphy (D-Conn.), Chair of the Subcommittee on Homeland Security, said:
“If we’re going to ensure the Department of Homeland Security has the resources it needs to tackle threats to our national security and manage our borders we need to pass a full year budget. This bill is a reasonable compromise, and I’m proud of the investments it would make in the responsible management of our border, the protection of our nation from cyber threats, and the protection of our coastlines and airports. Also, for the first time ever, this bill includes dedicated funding to stop the flow of illegal firearms going south across our border. It's time for Republicans to step up and get our government off endless, hurtful continuing resolutions, and I look forward to working across the aisle to get this done.”
Key Points & Highlights
Investments at DHS with a Global Impact: Domestic investments at DHS have the potential to result in global impacts across a number of key challenges facing the world in areas ranging from climate change, forced labor, and trafficking of narcotics and firearms.
· Building Environmental Resiliency. The bill includes $45 million for Coast Guard investments to expand operations in the Indo-Pacific in order to promote economic prosperity, environmental resiliency, and lawful access to the region’s maritime environment. It will also build regional nations’ abilities to support international law, including with respect to Illegal, Unreported, and Unregulated (IUU) fishing that depletes the world’s ocean resources.
· The bill also includes $312.75 million (+$37.25 million; 13.5 percent increase) for the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) RiskMap program. This program maps the Nation’s waterways, and will help produce flood hazard data to ensure that Federal investment in buildings and infrastructure are more resilient against current and future flood risk and support local government hazard mitigation planning and protecting against the real-world impacts of climate change.
· Disrupting the Flow of Drugs and Firearms. Dedicated funding is provided to build outbound operations at land ports of entry with the goal of identifying and seizing firearms and money exiting the U.S. as a result from the sale of narcotics. In addition $60 million is provided to hire 125 Customs and Border Protection (CBP) officers and mission support staff and $70 million to strengthen non-intrusive inspection systems that will significantly improve the scanning of vehicles and cargo entering the U.S. using artificial intelligence and machine learning capabilities to detect and seize harmful items. Furthermore, $10 million is provided to support and expand investigations by Homeland Security Investigations, the Department’s lead investigative agency, in response to illicit content that is detected through NII deployed at the border.
· Combatting Forced Labor. The bill provides $101 million (+$51 million; 108 percent increase) to support efforts to prevent the importation into the U.S. of merchandise mined, produced or manufactured, wholly or in part, in any foreign country by forced labor—including forced or indentured child labor. Providing the tools and capabilities to assist in the identification and seizure of such items will strike a blow at the forces behind these abhorrent actions.
· Establishing a New Wildlife Trafficking Unit at HSI. The bill provides $7.5 million to establish and formalize a new unit at Homeland Security Investigations (HSI) to prevent wildlife trafficking. This is a critical investment to protect the economy, environment, and to assist in disrupting the flow of resources that support other illicit conduct. The Wildlife Trafficking Unit at HSI will coordinate with government and private sectors to enhance investigative expertise, analytical support, and to develop the next generation of investigators to investigate and disrupt this heinous crime.
Supporting TSA Pay Parity: The bill includes $398 million to bring the TSA workforce pay on par with the rest of the federal workforce. This puts the TSA in a favorable position to address recruiting and retention issues while the agency works to respond to an increase in travel volumes and competes with other federal agencies and with other competitive job opportunities at federalized airports.
Rebuilding the Refugee Program at United States Citizenship and Immigration Services: The bill includes $133 million to meet the refugee admissions goal of 125,000 for fiscal year 2023, a critical investment that will save the lives of children and families across the globe and bring economic prosperity to the United States. Until now, United States Citizenship and Immigration Services was the only federal agency not appropriated the necessary funds to participate in the refugee program, despite the fact that at least three separate federal agencies are involved in the day-to-day operations. This investment could not have come at a better time. The end of 2021 saw nearly 90 million people forcibly displaced due to persecution, conflict, violence, human rights violations and other disasters. War, famine and disaster, from Ukraine to Yemen, means now, more than ever, America must demonstrate its commitment to security, prosperity and safety. Supporting the refugee program is one meaningful step.
Federal Emergency Management Administration (FEMA) Grant Programs: The bill includes $3.9 billion (+$249 million; 7 percent increase) for grants and training to SLTT entities. FEMA grants help communities prepare for, respond to, and recover from both manmade and natural threats, including hurricanes, terrorist attacks, wildfires, and more. The bill provides additional funding for nonprofits, such as faith-based houses of worship, as threats to these institutions persist (+$55 million; 22 percent increase). It also increases funding for flood plain mapping efforts to enable informed decision-making for public and private projects (+$37.25 million; 14 percent increase). Grant programs are funded as follows:
· $520 million for State Homeland Security, of which $90 million is for Operation Stonegarden and $15 million is for tribal security;
· $615 million for the Urban Area Security Initiative;
· $305 million for the Nonprofit Security;
· $105 million for Public Transportation Security, of which $10 million is for Amtrak and $2 million is for Bus Security;
· $100 million for Port Security;
· $720 million for Assistance to Firefighter and SAFER;
· $355 million for Emergency Management Performance;
· $313 million for Flood Hazard Mapping and Risk Analysis;
· $130 million for Emergency Food and Shelter;
· $56 million for Next Generation Warning System;
· $12 million for Regional Catastrophic Preparedness;
· $316 million for training, including $58 million for the U.S. Fire Administration and $31 million for the Emergency Management Institute;
· $800 million (by transfer) for the Shelter and Services Program;
· $20 million (by transfer) for Targeted Violence and Terrorism Prevention; and
· $20 million (by transfer) for Alternatives to Detention Case Management.
Investing in the United States Coast Guard (USCG): The bill includes $11.6 billion for USCG operations and assets (+$140 million). The USCG total includes $83 million for increased fuel costs that are needed to maintain surface and air operations; and $1.7 billion for major acquisitions investments, including $918 million for vessels, $238 million for aircraft, and $415 million for shore facilities that directly support the USCG mission. This mission includes search and rescue, drug interdiction, marine safety and environmental protection, and fisheries enforcement.
Resources for a More Humane and Safe Environment Along our Borders: Funding is provided to Customs and Border Protection (CBP) and Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) to assist state and local governments, non-governmental organizations (NGOs) partners, and federal law enforcement in response to the high level of noncitizens arriving at the southwest border. The majority of these noncitizens are seeking asylum or otherwise fleeing corrupt regimes and the impacts of natural disasters in their home countries. Within CBP, funding is provided to give Border Patrol additional capacity and capabilities to support agents including funds for temporary soft-sided facilities, transportation, and personnel support, which will reduce overcrowding at facilities and allow agents to return to the field faster.
Additionally, funding is provided for humanitarian assistance that bolsters the operational capabilities of the U.S. Border Patrol. This new grant program, CBP’s Shelter and Services Program, joins a suite of tools available to CBP to help manage the border. It invests federal dollars directly into state and local governments and NGOs who work with federal personnel at the border to provide life-saving humanitarian assistance, including shelter and transportation, allowing CBP to reduce overcrowding and minimize the need for additional temporary holding space. Further, resources are included for ICE for non-detention border management, including for medical costs for noncitizens in custody and transportation requirements.
In order to better inform Congress about the resource requirements to create a more humane environment for both noncitizens encountered on the border and the federal law enforcement charged with securing our border, the bill includes language directing the Secretary to ensure the development of projections of encounters at the southwest border (broken out by single adults, families, and unaccompanied children) and to share such projections with the Attorney General, and the Secretaries of Health and Human Services and State. The Secretary is also directed to use such projections to estimate future workload, identify requirements associated with that workload, and develop cost estimates for those requirements in order to inform budget justifications provided to Congress.
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