The U.S. president has released the details of the Department of Homeland Security’s Fiscal Year (FY) 2021 Budget to Congress, which includes $49.8 billion to DHS in discretionary funding and an additional $5.1 billion for the Disaster Relief Fund (DRF). This Budget balances the need to strengthen U.S. defenses in border and transportation security, enforce immigration laws, increase U.S. defensive posture in cybersecurity, and improve resiliency to both man-made and natural disasters.
According to a statement from DHS, the FY 2021 Budget assures the Department is poised to address a wide variety of complex threats emanating from the border and beyond by providing frontline Agents and Officers with adequate prevention, response and recovery resources to keep America safe while promoting economic prosperity through the facilitation of lawful travel and commerce.
The President’s Budget calls for continued improvement to security along the Southwest Border. That includes big increases for infrastructure, technology, and law enforcement personnel, with a $182.2 million increase in U.S. Border Patrol personnel. Since taking office, President Trump has prioritized funding for a border wall. As such, the FY 2021 Budget calls for $2 billion, or an additional 82 miles of wall, to secure the border. With total funding now secured, the Administration has the funding to build up to approximately 1,000 miles of border wall along the Southwest border.
Forecasting models reinforce the need for an increase in Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) detention beds to 60,000 (55,000 adult and 5,000 family). The budget includes $3.1 billion for this capacity increase and ensures ICE maintains pace with projected migration flows and enhances enforcement activity within the interior of the United States. The Budget also includes an additional $354 million for Alternatives to Detention to monitor 120,000 average daily population.
The FY 2021 budget also includes $40 million for a Humanitarian Care Center (HCC) in the Rio Grande Valley (RGV) Sector, the Sector with the highest numbers of illegal crossings. The facility will provide permanent, long term, sustainable infrastructure, ultimately positioning the Agency to shift from a reactive to a proactive stance when dealing with the immigration crisis at the southern border. The facility can also be quickly activated and scaled to meet incident-specific requirements. The HCC may be utilized for the processing and caring of individuals, family-member unit aliens, and unaccompanied alien children crossing the border between the Ports of Entry in the RGV Sector. The crisis levels of illegal immigration at U.S. border facilities during the summer of 2019 highlight the need for the HCC and will allow the Department to meet their responsibilities going forward.
With much of the attention on the land border, DHS maintains an equal responsibility to secure the Homeland against threats emanating from the air and maritime approaches. Accordingly, the budget includes approximately $191.4 million for Customs and Border Protection (CBP) and U.S. Coast Guard for airframe upgrades, conversions and sensor improvements. These improvements will provide a significant increase in domain awareness while enhancing interdiction and humanitarian response capability. The Budget also supports national interest in the Polar Region by investing $555 million to fund the construction of a second Polar Security Cutter which assures persistence surface presence in the ice-impacted waters.
With the 2020 Presidential Election on the horizon, DHS adds that it is critically important to fortify U.S. cybersecurity posture and eliminate the potential for outside influence to impact the democratic electoral process. The FY 2021 Budget contains $1.1 billion to Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency (CISA) in operational costs and investments for the Continuous Diagnostics and Mitigation (CDM) program and the National Cybersecurity Protection System to strengthen the security for government networks and systems against cyber-attacks and intrusions.
The Budget includes $28.9 million for the Transportation Security Administration (TSA) to expand Computed Tomography (CT) screening capability. CT screening is not only more effective against non-conventional concealment methods, but it also provides better sensors and algorithms that will eliminate the requirement for passengers to remove electronics from carry-on bags in the future, resulting in faster security processing. TSA’s budget also includes $3.5 billion to fund 47,596 Transportation Security Officers to support the projected increase in workload volume.