Today, Secretary Mayorkas delivered the following opening remarks on the Fiscal Year 2023 budget request for the Department of Homeland Security during testimony before the House Committee on Appropriations -- Homeland Security Subcommittee:
Chairwoman Roybal-Allard, Ranking Member Fleischmann, and distinguished Members of the Subcommittee: thank you for the opportunity to join you and testify before you this morning.
Every day, the 250,000 extraordinary personnel of the Department of Homeland Security interact with the public on a daily basis more than any other federal agency.
While created to respond to a singular threat in the aftermath of 9/11, our Department has remained agile, adapting to new challenges as they arise, as responsibilities grow, and as our role increases in scale and scope.
The fiscal year 2023 budget is a $97.3 billion investment in our capacity to meet the shifting threat landscape.
The resources will give us the tools to protect our communities from terrorism; enhance border security; invest in a safe, orderly, and humane immigration system; counter cyberattacks; safeguard our transportation networks; strengthen disaster preparedness and resilience; and much more.
On terrorism and targeted violence, the threat has evolved over the last two decades, and we meet this challenge by equipping every level of government, the private sector, and local communities with the tools and resources they need to stay safe.
In 2021, for the first time, we designated domestic violent extremism a “National Priority Area” in our FEMA grant programs, enhanced training opportunities for law enforcement, and increased our intelligence and information sharing efforts. We are asking for additional funds to expand these operations.
In the wake of incidents like the hostage crisis in Colleyville, Texas, we have increased our request for the vital Nonprofit Security Grant Program to $360 million – to protect houses of worship and other nonprofits from terrorism and targeted violence.
Under this Administration, our Department has been executing a comprehensive strategy to secure our borders and rebuild our immigration system.
With the Title 42 public health Order set to be lifted, we expect migration levels to increase, as smugglers seek to take advantage of and profit from vulnerable migrants.
We will continue to enforce our immigration laws.
After Title 42 is lifted, noncitizens will be processed pursuant to Title 8, which provides that individuals who cross the border without legal authorization are processed for removal and, if unable to establish a legal basis to remain in the United States, promptly removed from the country.
We started our planning last September, and we are leading the execution of a whole-of-government strategy, which stands on six pillars, to prepare for and manage the rise in noncitizen encounters.
One. Surge resources, including personnel, transportation, medical support, and facilities.
Two. Increase efficiency without compromising the integrity of our screening processes, to reduce strain on the border.
Three. Administer consequences for unlawful entry, including expedited removal and criminal prosecution.
Four. Bolster the capacity of NGOs and coordinate with state, local and community partners.
Five. Target and disrupt transnational criminal organizations and human smugglers.
Six. Deter irregular migration south of our border, in partnership with other federal agencies and nations.
We inherited a broken and dismantled system that is already under strain. It is not built to manage the current levels and types of migratory flows. Only Congress can fix this.
Yet we have effectively managed an unprecedented number of noncitizens seeking to enter the United States and interdicted more drugs and disrupted more smuggling operations than ever before.
A significant increase in migrant encounters will strain our system even further, and we will address this challenge successfully. But it will take time, and we need the partnership of Congress, state and local officials, NGOs, and communities to do so.
To build on our ongoing work, in this budget, we have requested funding to hire 300 new Border Patrol agents, the first increase since 2011; ensure the safe and humane treatment of migrants; and operationalize a new rule on asylum processing.
We are requesting additional funds to counter human and drug smuggling operations, combat the heinous crimes of child exploitation and human trafficking and stop goods produced by forced labor from entering our markets.
Finally, our mission set includes a series of other essential priorities.
DHS, through the Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency, protects our critical infrastructure from malicious cyber activity – a threat heightened due to Russia’s unprovoked and brutal invasion of Ukraine.
Our budget will expand our cybersecurity services, bolster our ability to respond to cyber intrusions, and grow our cyber operational planning activities.
DHS, through the Transportation Security Administration, protects the traveling public.
Our budget invests in paying TSA’s dedicated personnel commensurate with their federal colleagues and ensuring they receive employment protections.
DHS, through FEMA and other agencies, continues to answer the risks posed by climate change and natural disasters growing in ferocity and frequency.
Our budget invests in adaptation, resilience, improved response and recovery, and more.
We cannot do this alone.
DHS is a department of partnerships. I look forward to working with this committee to carry out our wide-ranging mission on behalf of the American people. Thank you.