How would a shutdown impact Homeland Security?

September 30, 2013

The vast majority of Department of Homeland Security employees would continue to work under a government shutdown because their functions “must be maintained under all circumstances to ensure the safety and security of the nation and its citizens,” or because their jobs are not funded by congressional appropriations, according to the agency’s 2013 contingency plan.

(Mario Anzuoni/Reuters)
(Mario Anzuoni/Reuters)

The DHS plan designates about 86 percent of the department’s roughly 231,000 employees as “essential,” meaning they would remain on the job for the “safety of human life or protection of property.” Some of those workers would also be part of an “emergency relocation group” that responds to possible emergency situations.

Among DHS components, the Transportation Security Administration, which handles airport screenings, would have retained about 93 percent of its workforce, while about 78 percent of Federal Emergency Management Agency and 88 percent of both Coast Guard and Customs and Border Protection employees would remain on the job.

Topping the list with the highest percentage would be U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services, at 97 percent, followed by the Secret Service, with 92 percent.

USCIS is largely a fee-funded agency, with nearly 95-percent of its annual budget comprised of the fees individuals pay to request immigration services and benefits, according to agency spokesman Christopher Bentley.

To connect with Josh Hicks, follow his Twitter feed or e-mail  josh.hicks@washpost.comFor more federal news, visit The Federal Eye, The Fed Page and Post Politics. E-mail federalworker@washpost.com with news tips and other suggestions.

Josh Hicks covers the federal government and anchors the Federal Eye blog. He reported for newspapers in the Detroit and Seattle suburbs before joining the Post as a contributor to Glenn Kessler’s Fact Checker blog in 2011.
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