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Secretary Alejandro N. Mayorkas Testimony to the Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee

Release Date: 
July 27, 2021

Chairman Peters, Ranking Member Portman, and distinguished Members of the Committee, good morning. Thank you for the opportunity to be with you again today.

Allow me to join you in expressing my sorrow upon the passing of Senator Enzi, with whom I had the privilege of working in my prior tenure at the Department of Homeland Security.  And allow me to join you, please, in expressing my prayers and thoughts for his family at this difficult time.

Every day, the 240,000 public servants at the Department of Homeland Security confront an increasingly complex and dynamic threat landscape. They do so with an unflinching dedication to our mission and a deep sense of purpose.

I am here today to ask for your continued support of their work. As you know, it is the resources afforded by this Congress that enable my outstanding colleagues to keep the American people safe, and that enable us to recruit and retain our Nation’s most talented professionals.

The President’s Fiscal Year 2022 Budget helps us meet these essential goals.

First, the President’s Budget invests in a secure border.

It directs $1.2 billion dollars toward more effective and modern port and border security, including a $655 million dollar investment toward modernizing our land Ports of Entry; another $47 million to integrate Customs and Border Protection detection capabilities; and robust investments in border surveillance technology.

There is no request for additional border wall construction.

Our team at Customs and Border Protection employs a wide array of proven tactics and cutting-edge technology to defend the American people against dangerous threats to our borders.

To support this challenging task, the President’s Budget includes $37 million to integrate aerial border security technologies that will provide a common operating picture for law enforcement. This will enable our Border Patrol agents – regardless of their location – to act based on consistent, shared information.  

This is absolutely essential to protecting our homeland in the 21st century, and it is just a snapshot of the incredible work being done on the front lines as part of our layered approach to border security. I urge you respectfully to support  the President’s requested investments for these smart and strategic border security measures.

Second, consistent with the President’s recently released Immigration Blueprint calling for safe, orderly, and humane policies and practices to govern immigration, this Budget reflects our Administration’s commitment to rebuilding our system into one that is fair, efficient, and upholds our Nation’s values and our laws.

It includes a new discretionary request for $345 million for U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services to reduce the backlog of applications and petitions, ramp up interview capacity, and meet our goal of welcoming up to 125,000 refugees per year.  To ensure the safe and humane treatment of migrants at the Southwest Border, the request includes $163 million for medical needs for those in Customs and Border Protection custody.

Third, the budget tackles a rising threat to our national security: cyberattacks.

The President is requesting new resources for the Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency—or CISA, as it is commonly known—which leads the effort to defend against cyber-threats and promote resilience across the federal government.

We are seeking $2.1 billion for cyber activities, which builds on the $650 million already provided to CISA in the American Rescue Plan.  This funding will help CISA respond to government-wide breaches, increase cyber defenses, hire qualified experts, and obtain support services to protect and defend critical infrastructure and Federal IT systems. 

Fourth, the President’s Budget invests in what we need to prepare for increasingly costly, devastating, and frequent natural disasters.

The Federal Emergency Management Agency has stepped up to meet this challenge – but the challenge is one that requires new resources.  

This budget invests $532 million above the FY 2021 enacted level to help FEMA and its workforce combat the realities of climate change in an equitable way, including significant commitments to pre-disaster planning and climate resilience grant programs that benefit communities across the country.

Finally, this budget invests necessary resources in one of our top priorities at the Department of Homeland Security: combating the growing threat of domestic violent extremism.

Domestic terrorism is the most lethal and persistent terrorism-related threat to the United States today.  That is why we are requesting $131 million to support innovative methods to prevent domestic terrorism while respecting privacy, civil rights, and civil liberties.  The funding also lifts up vital research on the root causes of radicalization, enhanced community outreach, and locally driven prevention efforts.

It is one of the great honors of my life to serve alongside the dedicated public servants of the Department of Homeland Security. Their commitment to a complex and dynamic homeland security mission is unwavering, and I am committed to ensuring they are resourced, compensated, and recognized appropriately.

I ask for your continued support and partnership in this effort.

Thank you again for the opportunity to be here today.  I look forward to discussing the President’s budget priorities for the Department, and I welcome your questions.  Thank you.

 

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Last Published Date: July 27, 2021
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