The Department of Homeland Security would get a significant spending increase in the Trump administration’s new proposed budget — a nearly 7 percent boost to expand a wall along the nation’s southern border and hire more federal agents to catch, deport and deter illegal immigrants.
The budget plan envisions a $2.6 billion expenditure on border security enhancements, much of that for the design and construction of a larger wall along the U.S.-Mexico border. Overall, DHS spending would grow by $2.8 billion, reflecting President Trump’s repeated calls to get tougher on illegal immigration.
The administration wants $314 million to pay for the hiring of 500 new Border Patrol officers and 1,000 new Immigration and Customs Enforcement officers. In addition, it wants to spend$1.5 billion more than the current fiscal year on the detention and removal of undocumented people.
Paying for that beefed-up immigration enforcement would mean significant cuts to other parts of the department, particularlythe Federal Emergency Management Agency’s grants to state and local agencies.
The budget would cut $667 million from such programs, including disaster mitigation grants, which are designed to make communities more resilient before disasters occur. Also facing major reductions is the Homeland Security Grant Program, which includes the Urban Area Security Initiative. Its funds are distributed to major U.S. cities to help them pay for counterterrorism work, and previous efforts to restrict those payments have met stiff resistance in Congress.
The budget would also seek to have air travelers pay for more of the cost of securing the nation’s airports by raising the TSA Passenger Security Fee. The fee, now $5.60 per one-way trip for a passenger flying out of a U.S. airport, was instituted after the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks to help pay for increased security for airline passengers.
The budget would also scale back some of the security that takes place around airports and other major transit hubs. It would cut back the Visible Intermodal Prevention and Response program, which places heavily armed officers at airports as a public deterrent to terrorism, and eliminate TSA grants to state and local police to help patrol around airports.
The agency would also spend $1.5 billion on cybersecurity measures designed to boost the computer defenses of federal agencies, allowing for better information sharing on threats and faster responses to hacking attacks.