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Statement by Secretary Jeh C. Johnson on the Consequences to Border Security without a DHS Appropriations Bill

Release Date: 
February 10, 2015

For Immediate Release
DHS Press Office
Contact: 202-282-8010

I continue to stress the need for a DHS appropriations bill for FY 2015, unburdened by politically charged amendments that attempt to defund our executive actions on immigration reform. The President has made plain that he will veto a bill that includes such language.

At present, the Department of Homeland Security is operating on a continuing resolution that expires on February 27. As long as this Department is funded by a continuing resolution, there are a whole series of activities vital to homeland security and public safety that cannot be undertaken. The public must be aware of the real impacts to homeland security as long as DHS is funded by a continuing resolution, or, still worse, if Congress were to permit our funding to lapse altogether and the Department of Homeland Security goes into government shutdown.

Last week I issued a statement noting the impact on DHS’s grant-making activity to states, local and tribal governments as long as we are on a CR. Basically, we are prevented from funding all new non-disaster assistance grants.

The public must also be aware of the impact on our ability to secure the borders as long as we operate on a CR. As part of our executive actions to reform the immigration system, the President and I have emphasized increased border security. Added border security is also a key component of the President’s FY 2015 and FY 2016 budget submissions to Congress. But, as long as this Department is on a CR, and not a full-year appropriations bill, our ability to strengthen border security, to include maintaining the resources we put in place to respond to the surge in illegal migration into south Texas last summer, is constrained.

Here are some concrete examples of things we need to do, but cannot, without a full-year DHS appropriations bill for FY 2015:

  • Important investments in border security technology cannot be initiated, including additional resources to upgrade obsolete remote video surveillance systems and mobile video surveillance systems in the Rio Grande Valley;
  • Investments to increase our ability to analyze geospatial intelligence cannot be made. This is a capability critical to enhancing situational awareness of illegal border crossings and prioritizing frontline personnel and capability deployments;
  • Non-intrusive inspection technology at ports of entry cannot be enhanced. This technology reduces inspection times while facilitating trade and travel, and is necessary to detect illegal goods and materials, such as potential nuclear and radiological threats;
  • Critical enhancements to the CBP National Targeting Center’s operational and analytical systems cannot be made. These support our daily operations against transnational criminal organizations by identifying terrorist and criminal threats attempting to cross our borders via land, air and sea; and
  • More aggressive investigations by ICE of transnational criminal organizations responsible for human smuggling and trafficking, narcotics smuggling, and cybercrime involving child exploitation and intellectual property rights violations.

Border security is not free. The men and women of DHS need a partner in Congress to fund their efforts. Time is running out. I urge Congress to act responsibly and pass a clean appropriations bill for this Department.

For more information, visit www.dhs.gov.

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Last Published Date: February 10, 2015
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