Trump’s DHS Budget Emphasizes Border Security, Immigration
Contrary to the reporting in some media outlets earlier this month, which speculated that the United States Coast Guard’s budget would be cut by 14 percent by the Trump administration, the president’s budget blueprint, as actually delivered to Capitol Hill, contains no decrease to the service’s funding.
That’s good news, kind of, for the international trade community, as the Coast Guard plays a vital role in commercial shipping navigation and in port and shipping security, along with many other important roles including law enforcement, environmental protection, and illegal immigrant detention.
But the Coast Guard did not fare as well as other components of the Department of Homeland Security, which received hefty increases in their funding in the president’s proposed budget.
Overall, the fiscal year 2018 budget blueprint requests $44.1 billion in discretionary budget authority for DHS, a $2.8 billion or 6.8 percent increase from previous levels.
The FY 2017 budget amendment would provide $3 billion for DHS implementation of recent Executive Orders. The request would fund efforts to plan, design, and construct a physical wall along the southern border, and make other critical investments in tactical border infrastructure and technology. Evidently, Mexico won’t be paying for the wall after all.
The request also proposes funding to increase immigration detention capacity and funds additional capacity at DHS to prepare for hiring additional immigration law enforcement officers and agents, including the hiring of 500 new Border Patrol Agents and 1,000 new ICE law enforcement personnel. It provides $1.5 billion above 2017 level to expand detention, transportation, and removal of illegal immigrants.
The budget plan “sustains current funding levels for the US Coast Guard,” said a DHS statement, “which allows for the continuation of day-to-day operations and investments in the Acquisition, Construction, & Improvements account.”
The plan also reduces Federal Emergency Management Agency grants and proposes establishing a 25-percent non-federal match for FEMA preparedness grants that do not currently require such a match.
The White House will be submitting a more detailed budget plan to Congress in May. But it’s the Congress, it should be noted, that ultimately decides federal appropriations levels.
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