October 7, 2009
Fact Sheet: Fiscal Year 2010 Homeland Security Appropriations Conference Report
The FY 2010 Homeland Security Appropriations conference report provides $42.8 billion in total funding for the various programs and agencies within the Department of Homeland Security (DHS). This is $2.5 billion - or 6.1% - above last year’s level and $296 million below the President’s request.
It is a serious concern that funding for important national security priorities - like those funded in this bill - are being put on the back burner to provide massive, double digit increases in other areas. In fact, the budget allocations approved by House Democrats this year contain a 12% average increase in non-defense domestic and international spending. This is on top of the massive spending that Democrats have passed in the last two fiscal years. When all appropriations bills from FY 2007 to FY 2009 are combined, overall Appropriations spending has increased 41% in just two years, and non-defense spending has increased 85%.
U.S. Customs and Border Protection –
The conference report contains $10.1 billion for Customs and Border Protection (CBP). $67 million above the request is provided for 100 additional Border Patrol agents, 50 additional CBP officers, procurement of advanced inspection equipment, and additional fencing, tactical infrastructure, and border security technology to combat illegal activities along both the Southwest and Northern borders. While these increases are notable, they pale in comparison to the thousands of additional Border Patrol agents and CBP officers added over the last few years.
Immigration and Customs Enforcement –
The report provides $5.4 billion for Immigration and Customs Enforcement which is $21.1 million below the request. This includes $100 million ($30 million above the request) for enhancements to Southwest Border enforcement to combat smuggling by the Mexican drug cartels. $1.5 billion is provided to expand efforts to locate and remove criminal aliens, and $68 million for state and local programs including the 287(g) program.
First Responders –
The conference report provides $4.2 billion in grants for state and local first responders, which is approximately $62 million below last year’s level. These programs include state homeland security grants, port security grants, Real ID grants, firefighter grants, and emergency management performance grants.
Transportation Security Administration –
The report includes $5.3 billion for the TSA. These funds will be used for screening personnel, detection systems, security enforcement, and cargo inspections, and other TSA activities. $778 million is provided to modernize airports’ explosives detection systems – nearly $500 million above last year.
Coast Guard –
The report contains $9.9 billion for the U.S. Coast Guard, which is $169.8 million below the President’s request. However, Deepwater investments are enhanced above the request for the fifth National Security Cutter and for refurbishment of heavy icebreakers. Additional funds are also included for enhancements to counternarcotics operations and to modernize aging cutters and aircraft. The conference agreement also provides funding for military pay and allowances, maritime safety and security activities, and overseas contingency operations including operations in the Persian Gulf and off the coast of Somalia.
E-Verify and Citizenship & Immigration Services –
The conference report includes $137 million for the E-verify program -- $25 million above the request at the insistence of House Republicans. The President’s request for a three-year extension for the program is also included. The conference agreement also denies most of the Administration’s request to use both a portion of immigration fees plus direct appropriations to cover the costs of refugee, asylum, and military naturalizations.
Guantanamo Bay Detention Facility and Detainee Photos –
While the conference report includes language supported by committee Republicans relating to Guantanamo Bay detainees – including prohibitions of the release of detainees into the U.S. - the report does not go far enough to prevent prisoners from being transferred to or detained on U.S soil. For example, the final report does not include any provision prohibiting the transfer of detainees to the U.S. for any reason, and specifically allows the transfer of prisoners for the purposes of prosecution in U.S. courts.
The House and Senate have both overwhelmingly voted to prevent detainee transfers to the U.S. for any reason (including prosecution). In addition, the House voted last week to instruct the conferees to include language to prevent any individual that has previously been detained at Guantanamo and already released or transferred from receiving any U.S. immigration benefit (including visas and asylum status), and prevent the release of detainee photographs.
Rep. Hal Rogers offered a motion in conference committee to stand by the will of the House and Senate and include these prohibitions in the final conference report. However, this motion failed due to opposition from House Democrats.
Another motion - offered by House Appropriations Ranking Republican Jerry Lewis - was offered in conference committee and was rejected by committee Democrats. The motion would have placed a total prohibition on any taxpayer funds from being used to implement the White House Executive Order to close down Guantanamo.
It has been nine months since the Obama Administration announced its intent to close Guantanamo Bay, yet Congress has not received any substantive plan on what to do with the dangerous terrorists detained there. It is clear that the American people do not want these terrorists transferred to their communities, and there is no valid reason to allow this kind of risk on our soil.