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DHS Enforcement Cuts Blasted in Subcommittee Hearing

Press Release

Location: Washington, DC

Coast Guard personnel, detention space for criminal aliens, and border security rank below the Washington headquarters of the Department of Homeland Security according to the President's FY2014 budget request, and that has Homeland Security Appropriations Subcommittee Chairman John Carter (R-TX31) calling for rejection of the funding request.

The Subcommittee heard testimony Thursday from U.S. Secretary of Homeland Security Janet Napolitano concerning the FY 2014 budget request for the Department of Homeland Security. Chairman Carter and subcommittee members questioned Secretary Napolitano on the affects the DHS budget request would have on operations and enforcement on the front lines after the President's budget was released Wednesday. The budget was more than nine weeks past due.

The FY14 DHS budget priorities included:

A proposed reduction of 826 Coast Guard military personnel;

A proposed cut of nearly 40% to Coast Guard acquisitions;

A proposed reduction of 2,200 ICE detention beds; and

A proposed reduction of more than 1,000 full-time positions in ICE, resulting in substantial decreases to investigations into everything from threats to national security to child exploitation to cyber-crime to drug smuggling.

Proposed funding increase for DHS Headquarters.

Chairman Carter stressed that DHS must find ways to adequately support its costly workforce and necessary operations- including enforcement- and also follow-though on essential upgrades in border security technology, Coast Guard acquisitions and necessary research.

Chairman Carter also interrogated Secretary Napolitano on what he called "a complete lack of candor" resulting in a lack of facts and transparency from within the current Administration. The subcommittee has requested numerous required plans and reports from DHS, including 12 reports and plans that were statutorily mandated to be submitted within the budget that was released Wednesday. However, the department has failed to submit reports on time, including facts about mandatory E-verify costs, resource implications on new USCIS programs, information on the sequester impacts for DHS and the unwarranted release of ICE detainees.

"If DHS can't clearly explain how it is proposing to spend the taxpayers' limited dollars on its programs and projects, won't show how funds meet mission requirements and refuses to answer Congress's basic oversight questions, then we have little choice other than to hold the Department's leadership accountable and cut requested, but unjustified funding," said Chairman Carter.

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