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Homeland Security Appropriations Bill Includes Multi-Billion- Dollar Funding for Border Security

Last week, the Senate Committee on Appropriations released the fiscal year 2018 Department of Homeland Security chairman’s recommendations, which represents $51.6 billion in discretionary funding. The funding would include border security, such as increased barriers in specific, high-traffic areas along the southern border of the United States. Funds are also designated for immigration enforcement, aviation and maritime security, cyber-security, critical infrastructure protection and disaster response.

Citing recent terrorist attacks in the U.S., Appropriations Committee Chairman Senator Thad Cochran (R-Miss.) 
said the funds would increase resources that enable Department of Homeland Security to more thoroughly protect the nation and its citizens.

Among the key points are:
  •  $13.5 billion for U.S. Customs and Border Protection. This reflects an increase of more than 10 percent over fiscal year 2017. In includes   border security, infrastructure, technology and personnel and funds the Trump administration’s mission of creating greater physical barriers in   targeted areas along the southern border.
  •  $11.4 billion for Operations and Support, $100 million of which would go to 500 new Border Patrol agents.
  •  $1.9 billions for Procurement, Construction and Improvements, including border barriers, technology and tactical infrastructure.
  •  $6.7 billion for Immigration and Customs Enforcement. This would involve building Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) so it can   fully perform its missions.
  •  $6.6 billion for Operations and Support, such as funding new Mobile Criminal Alien teams, which identify and apprehend criminal aliens.
  •  $28 million for Procurement, Construction and Improvements, such tactical information technology and financial systems.
  •  $11.2 billion for the U.S. Coast Guard in support of its diverse missions.
  •  $7.4 billion for a Federal Emergency Management Agency, Disaster Relief Fund.
  •  $2.8 billion for Federal Assistance. This would include Port Security Grants, Public Transportation Security Grants, Emergency Management   Performance Grants and Pre-disaster Mitigation Grants.
  •  $4.7 billion for the Transportation Security Administration (TSA) to maintain robust aviation screening.

There would also be increases in the budgets of the United States Secret Service, National Protection and Programs Directorate and Federal Law Enforcement Training Centers.

In other news, a report by Reuters detailed how police in towns that support President Donald J. Trump’s 
stated mission to identify, detain and deport undocumented aliens are aiding immigration officials. Reuters reports that multiple police departments around the country are either seeking or have been granted new powers to check the immigration status of people they arrest.

Since January of this year, 29 departments have entered a special program under which they are deputized to act as immigration agents on certain activities. Under a program known as 287(g), local deputized officers are trained by ICE to access federal records to investigate the immigration status of arrestees.

The 287(g) program was downsized under President Barack Obama due to concerns that some police departments targeted Hispanic populations. Those concerns continue among opponents of the program and immigration advocates.