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Washington - Today, Secretary of Homeland Security Kirstjen M. Nielsen released the following statement on the signing of the legislation that funds the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) and on the President’s declaration of a national emergency:
“The legislation passed by both chambers of Congress and signed today by the President gives the Department of Homeland Security critical funding to protect the homeland, including some resources to secure our borders and enforce our nation’s immigration laws. It increases the DHS overall budget by $1.7 billion, including $1.375 billion to build new border barriers where our frontline personnel need it most, and contains no restrictions on total barrier mileage. The legislation also includes $415 million in humanitarian assistance to address the serious crisis at our southern border, 4,754 additional beds for U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement to detain illegal aliens humanely and keep our citizens safe, and $570 million for specialized screening equipment at our Ports of Entry to detect illegal drugs and human smuggling. Moreover, the bill provides additional resources to combat child exploitation, human trafficking, transnational criminal organizations, and other cross-border criminal activity.
“Finally, the bill funds the Coast Guard’s Polar Security Cutter, increases important funding for the newly created Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency (CISA), and provides funding for 200 computed tomography machines that will help our dedicated TSA employees keep our skies safe.
“But the legislation doesn’t provide everything we need, and it gets nowhere close to completely solving the serious humanitarian and security crisis at our southern border. Time and again, Congress has failed to fully fund DHS to confront this situation and to handle the influx of aliens, drugs, and other illicit traffic into our country. That is why I strongly support the President’s decision to unlock additional funding for physical barriers, including resources from the Department of Treasury and the Department of Defense. Moreover, I applaud the President’s decision to declare a national emergency. This is a crisis—pure and simple—and we need to respond accordingly. We cannot standby as our border security is further compromised and our immigration laws are exploited. Now is the time to act and to uphold our fundamental responsibility to our citizens and our nation to safeguard U.S. territory.”