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Public Statements

Department of Homeland Security Appropriations Act, 2014

Floor Speech

Location: Washington, DC


Ms. ROYBAL-ALLARD. I thank Chairman Carter and Ranking Member Price for their bipartisan efforts in the drafting of this bill.

Unfortunately, with the refusal of the House leadership to go to conference on the budget, this year's appropriations process will be at the expense of essential funding for critical programs such as education, research, transportation, and infrastructure.

Nonetheless, this bill will help make our Nation stronger and more secure. It robustly funds grants to provide our first responders with the resources they need to protect the public when disaster strikes.

The bill also funds the highly effective Alternatives to Detention program at $24 million above the President's request. While I believe ATD should be significantly expanded, I was pleased to see the increased allocation for this proven program.

In addition, the bill provides a $16.9 million increase in funding for the Science and Technology Directorate, which will enable DHS to develop new tools to detect and deter terrorists before they attack.

However, there are still aspects of the bill that are of concern. For example, the bill continues to mandate that every night ICE maintain 34,000 detention beds, even when they are not needed. This needless quota restricts ICE's flexibility in using the smartest, most cost-effective means of enforcing our immigration laws by limiting ICE's ability to base detention decisions on whether or not an individual poses a threat to our country.

The bill also increases funding for the ineffective and unnecessary 287(g) program, which encourages racial profiling and undermines confidence in law enforcement in our minority and immigrant communities. These scarce resources could be better spent addressing serious threats like cyber warfare and cyber crime. Instead, the bill underfunds this critical national priority by more than $24 million below the President's request.

In spite of these weaknesses and given the limited resources allocated to the subcommittee, I do believe Chairman Carter and Ranking Member Price have done their best to enable DHS to protect the American people in an increasingly dangerous world. For that reason, I support the bill in its current form. However, I understand some Members will try to pass anti-immigrant amendments, which would make it impossible for me to support this bill. These efforts are contrary to the bipartisan spirit in which this bill was written and the bipartisan spirit in which this House has always approached issues of national security. If introduced, I urge my colleagues to reject these irresponsible amendments.

Again, I thank Chairman Carter, Ranking Member Price, and the subcommittee's hardworking staff for putting together this bill.


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