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  4. Secretary Mayorkas Testimony to the House Appropriations Committee on the FY 2025 Budget Request for the Department of Homeland Security

Secretary Mayorkas Testimony to the House Appropriations Committee on the FY 2025 Budget Request for the Department of Homeland Security

Release Date: April 10, 2024

Secretary Mayorkas delivered the following opening statement at a House Appropriations Committee hearing on the FY 2025 Budget Request for the Department of Homeland Security.

Chairman Joyce, Ranking Member Cuellar, distinguished members of this committee:

Every day, the 268,000 men and women of the Department of Homeland Security carry out our mission to protect the safety and security of the American people. They protect our shores, harbors, skies, cyberspace, borders, and leaders. They stop fentanyl and other deadly drugs from entering our country. They lead the response to maritime emergencies; as we speak, they are engaged in the response to the tragic Francis Scott Key Bridge collapse in Baltimore. They help communities recover and rebuild after a natural disaster. They combat the scourges of human trafficking, forced labor, and online child sexual exploitation; and so much more.

All this despite a perennially insufficient budget.

The dedicated public servants of DHS deserve full support, and the American people deserve the results a fully resourced DHS can deliver. The funding opportunities outlined in the President’s Fiscal Year 2025 Budget for DHS are critical to meeting both goals. I welcome the opportunity to discuss this proposed budget, and highlight some of its key proposals, with you today.

When our Department was founded in the wake of 9/11, the threat of foreign terrorism against high-visibility targets was our primary concern. That foreign threat persists, and the U.S. continues to be in a heightened threat environment. We now also confront the terrorism-related threat of radicalized lone offenders and small groups already resident here in the United States. This budget provides for an $80 million increase to our Department’s Nonprofit Security Grant Program, and additional funds for Targeted Violence and Terrorism Prevention grants so that DHS can better help communities prevent tragedies from occurring.

As lone actors and nation-states increasingly target our critical infrastructure and our data, the President’s budget provides CISA with needed funding to improve our cybersecurity and resiliency.

Fentanyl is wreaking tragedy in communities across the country. DHS has interdicted more illicit fentanyl and arrested more individuals for fentanyl-related crimes in the last two fiscal years than in the previous five combined. We must do more. The President’s budget includes critical funding to advance our strategy, including funds for Non-Intrusive Inspection technology and targeted operations.

During a time when the world, including our hemisphere, is experiencing the greatest displacement of people since World War II, DHS has toughened our border enforcement and is maximizing our available resources and authorities. In the last 11 months, we have removed or returned more than 630,000 individuals who did not have a legal basis to stay – more than in every full fiscal year since 2013.

The President’s budget would further expand these efforts. It provides $25.9 billion for CBP and ICE, including funds for hiring more enforcement personnel. A separate $265 million would be used by USCIS to bolster refugee processing, as we continue to expand lawful pathways and ensure that protection remains accessible for those who qualify under our laws.

Our immigration system, however, is fundamentally broken, including our asylum system that so significantly impacts the security of our borders and the processes we administer at it. Only Congress can fix our broken and outdated system, and only Congress can address our need for more border patrol agents, asylum officers and immigration judges, facilities, and technology. Our Administration worked closely with a bipartisan group of Senators to reach agreement on a national security supplemental package – one that would make the system changes that are needed and give DHS the tools and resources needed to meet today’s border security challenges. We remain ready to work with you to pass this tough, fair, bipartisan agreement.

Finally, extreme weather continues to devastate communities. Last year, FEMA responded to more than 100 disasters. Our budget provides $22.7 billion to assist community leaders and help survivors in the aftermath of major disasters, and additional funds to invest in resilience strategies that will save lives and taxpayer money in the decades to come.

Essential to our success across all mission sets is our Department’s ability to recruit and retain a world-class workforce. In addition to the frontline border workforce I mentioned, the President’s budget includes $1.5 billion to maintain our commitment to fairly compensate the TSA workforce, continuing the long-overdue Fiscal Year 2023 initiative we worked together to implement.

I look forward to working and further discussing with you these critical missions, and our Department’s needs for both the coming and current fiscal years. The recently passed 2024 budget, though welcome and helpful to many of our operations, was enacted too late to implement an appreciable hiring surge. It reduced by 20 percent much-needed support for cities dealing with migrant-related challenges, and it cut critical research and development funding, the compounding effects of which our Department will feel for years.

I am eager to work with you to address these and other shortfalls in the weeks ahead, as I am eager to deliver, together, the sustained funding, resources, and support that the extraordinarily talented and dedicated public servants of DHS need and deserve.

Thank you.

Last Updated: 04/10/2024
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