Chair Roybal-Allard Statement at Department of Homeland Security Resource Management and Operational Priorities Hearing

2021-05-26 10:11

Congresswoman Lucille Roybal-Allard (D-CA), Chair of the Homeland Security Subcommittee, delivered the following remarks at the Subcommittee's hearing on Department of Homeland Security Resource Management and Operational Priorities.

I welcome the Honorable Alejandro Mayorkas, Secretary of the Department of Homeland Security, who is here to discuss his Department’s operations and resource requirements.

Mr. Secretary, this is your first appearance before the Subcommittee in your current role. 

But you are certainly not new to the Department and its diverse set of missions.  I can think of no one more qualified to lead the Department at this challenging time.

We scheduled this hearing with you late in the month hoping thatwe could discuss the details of the Department’s fiscal year 2022 budget request. 

Unfortunately, we will not be getting the full budget request until Friday, which means you are limited in what you can say about it. 

Nevertheless, I hope to have a good discussion this morning not only about the current operations of the Department and the use of its appropriated resources, but also about what it will take to continue addressing the many challenges you face in the coming fiscal year. 

Mr. Secretary, I recently visited the border with you, and I want to commend all the DHS personnel who have been working so hard over the last few months to manage an incredibly difficult challenge. 

Working closely with the Department of Health and Human Services, you were able to reduce the number of unaccompanied children in CBP custody from over 5,000 to now around 500.  And I understand that CBP and ICE recently established a coordination cell to help prevent overcrowding of families at CBP facilities.  We look forward to seeing progress on this as quickly as possible.

Your Department is also facing a significant challenge in the cybersecurity area, with several breaches of government and private sector systems over the past several months. 

The Colonial Pipeline breach, in particular, was a wakeup call to many Americans about how malicious cyber actors – often backed by foreign states – can disrupt the U.S. economy and all of our lives.

I was pleased to hear yesterday about the impending TSA directive on pipeline cybersecurity reporting.  I was surprised, however, to have found out about it in the press, particularly given our engagement with TSA and CISA on the Colonial Pipeline issue over the past few weeks.

Mr. Secretary, since January 2020, the Department has seen 51 line of duty deaths, 43 of which were reported as related to COVID-19. 

On behalf of the Subcommittee – I convey our most sincere condolences to the families and colleagues of the members of the DHS family who have lost their lives over the last year.

Mr. Secretary, the Department has a varied and challenging mission set that is not always fully appreciated.  I want you to know this Subcommittee does appreciate what you and the 240,000 men and women who work for you do every day to help keep our nation safe.

Please convey to the women and men of the Department that they have our continued support during this very challenging time, that we will continue to do our best to provide the resources necessary to protect their health and well-being, and that they have our deep gratitude for their service to our country.

117th Congress