Chairwoman Roybal-Allard Statement at Fiscal Year 2023 Budget Request for the U.S. Customs and Border Protection Hearing
Congresswoman Lucille Roybal-Allard (D-CA), Chair of the Homeland Security Subcommittee, delivered the following remarks at the Subcommittee's hearing on the Fiscal Year 2023 Budget Request for the U.S. Customs and Border Protection:
This morning, we welcome Commissioner Chris Magnus, who is here to discuss the Customs and Border Protection’s operations and its fiscal year 2023 budget request.
Commissioner, I understand this is your first hearing as Commissioner since your confirmation. We look forward to a productive discussion this morning.
As we discussed last week with Secretary Mayorkas, one of the most challenging DHS missions is immigration enforcement, particularly at the border.
There are no easy answers or solutions because we cannot control the conditions in other countries – drought, violence, persecution, economic disruption – that lead people to make the desperate decision to leave their homes. It is within our control to provide a more realistic legal framework for managing the border – one that could improve border management while also staying true to our values as a country of immigrants – but unfortunately, Congress has failed to act.
Commissioner, I want to be very clear that while there are clear policy differences in Congress, there is no doubt that this Subcommittee supports what you and the over 63,000 men and women of CBP do every day to keep our country safe and facilitate trade and travel that is essential to our economic well being.
We are obligated to provide CBP with the resources it needs to carry out is missions effectively. At the same time, CBP is obligated to justify its requests based on validated requirements.
For instance, your budget request includes funding for additional Border Patrol Agents and processing coordinators. I am convinced that additional personnel are needed to help manage the border – both in terms of border security and to ensure that migrants are treated appropriately, but the details are important. We need to understand better how the mix of infrastructure, facilities, technology, and personnel you are proposing is the best use of taxpayer dollars.
The Subcommittee is also obligated to help you take care of your workforce. We provided $23 million for mental health clinicians in the fiscal year 2022 funding bill, and we stand ready to build on that support in fiscal year 2023.
I believe we are also obligated to help you ensure that migrants receive adequate shelter, culturally informed nutrition, trauma care, and due process while in CBP custody. These efforts are vital as we work towards a more humane, efficient immigration system.